we do not react to evil with more evil.

Need to remember this, especially in those moments when I’m fatigued, and that’s the moment when a child chooses to throw a tantrum, or talk back, or just plain be obnoxious. THAT is not the time to react with anger. That’s the time to take it to prayer. Or at least breathe out a “Jesus, help me!” or “Come, Holy Spirit!” before saying or doing anything I might regret later. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I still have those moments when I could have held my tongue or acted more like the adult I’m supposed to be.

blessing our persecutors, we react to something wrong with something good

”If a man finds it very hard to forgive injuries, let him look at a Crucifix, and think that Christ shed all His Blood for him, and not only forgave His enemies, but even prayed His Heavenly Father to forgive them also. Let him remember that when he says the Pater Noster, every day, instead of asking pardon for his sins, he is calling down vengeance on himself.” – St. Philip Neri

This is a lesson I need to master before I get back to engaging online. In the two years we’ve been battling it out online against anti-lifers, the greatest difficulty always has been determining how to proclaim the Truth out there without making things worse, without pushing people to the point where they just shut down and won’t hear another word, without inciting more anger and hatred. It gets very frustrating and exhausting to try and hash it out with people on Facebook or Twitter, when the minute you mention God or religion a door is automatically slammed in your face and you’re branded a bigot. How do we bless these people? How do we react to it with goodness and kindness? After two years I’m afraid I still don’t have any answers besides prayer. I pray that they get to the point where they are at least open to hearing an opposing opinion once again — especially coming from those who look at everything with the eyes of faith. When the walls come tumbling down, that’s the only time when real conversation, real dialogue, real conversion can happen. And it’s not going to be because WE are right and THEY are wrong, it’s going to be because we helped each other get to the TRUTH.

unlimited forgiveness

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. – St. John Chrysostom

Talk about sainthood!!

We recall that this forgiveness is an act of the will which we can control with grace. It is compatible with continuing to feel hurt….

And there’s the catch. Continuing to feel hurt is a human response — it’s natural. What I’m called to do is to reach out DESPITE THE HURT, to go BEYOND the hurt, because THAT’s where holiness is, that’s where LOVE is. When we cross the bridge from “I don’t want to get hurt” to “I will get hurt, but I still choose to respond with love” — that’s when we begin to make a difference. That’s when we show the face of Christ to others. Until that moment, we wear nothing but masks.

If the offender is also trying to live the gospel, he welcomes the admonition (which should be offered gently and be motivated by love). Hopefully he does not explode with indignation (Prov 9:7-9). Each one genuinely listens sympathetically to the other’s view of the matter. They both change for the better. People who are deeply converted live this way.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
– St. Francis of Assisi

Throughout this whole book, I must admit to being a bit frustrated with the way Fr. Thomas Dubay presents marriage. I can’t help but think sometimes — we’re past this. Hubby and I haven’t fought in YEARS. We have disagreements now and then, sure, but nothing that lasts more than a few hours. After being married this long, we’ve both come to the conclusion that some things are just not worth fighting over. Plus we really really like enjoying each other’s company. I also had great examples in my mom and dad. But I can see how so much of this teaching is necessary today. Ten years ago, we certainly weren’t the people we are today. Spiritual maturity is like a ladder, and my husband and I have been climbing it together. Had we not been through the struggles of the previous rungs, we might not be able to endure the kinds of crosses we are asked to bear now. Deep conversion had to happen years ago in our marriage, so that today we can move forward and carry our crosses, individually and together, with dignity and grace, instead of falling apart.