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Love your enemies - Luke 9

Love the way Jesus taught it...
Jesus Christ - poster from  Item #: 1672828

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

from Luke 9

To reflect on...
I am called to show Jesus’ immense love to those around me – even to those who consider themselves my ‘enemies’.

Let’s pray...
Lord Jesus Christ, even on the cross you said, ‘Father, forgive.’ As we have been forgiven, so teach us to be gracious and generous in forgiving others when they upset or hurt us. Amen.

I have already mentioned some Ignatian ways of praying in my posts Spiritual Chocolate and Are you a Martha or a Mary? Or a bit of both?

Ignatius of LoyolaIgnatius of Loyola, as a young man, was, in his own words, "a man given over to the vanities of the world, and took a special delight in the exercise of arms, with a great and vain desire of winning glory."

After serious injury, sustained during a battle, he was forced to convalesce for months. During this time he daydreamed of romance and glory - but strangely was left somewhat restless by these daydreams. He then began to imagine he was like one of the early saints of the church - and discovered that these types of daydreams didn't leave him restless - but calmer and more peaceful.

That was the start of his explorations into Christian spirituality - and into himself. If you want to read more about his life, it's told very readably at

Ignatius also penned some famous prayers. One of these is his prayer on the subject of surrender. Here it is...


Take, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace.
With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.

If I had to pick a number one prayer then this would be it!
It reminds me of the Methodist Covenant Prayer - which is said in Methodist churches at the start of each year.

The Methodist Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will; Methodist header
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.

Can you make this prayer?

Famous prayers - Thomas Merton

This prayer of Thomas Merton has always struck me as essentially very human and very honest.

Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.

May God's blessing be with you.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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;
and 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.

"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." -St. Francis of Assisi

Happiness, of course - sorry, ecourse!

Would you like to learn how to be more happy?
ReJesus have a happiness ecourse!

Might be fun!

I mentioned in my Ash Wednesday post that I have registered for the Tearfund Carbon Fast during Lent - each day's suggestion if emailed to me. Now, I haven't managed to read each one on the correct day, but I have taken on board some of the actions. I wonder, is anyone else doing this particular fast? And have you found it useful?

I was rather struck by today's thought:

What comes in and out of your home?
Reflect on what you have bought and consumed recently and challenge yourself on your consumption habits.
Do you need everything you buy?
Pray about what you might do to change any bad habits

I have just been helping a friend set up her new computer and, in the process, she expressed some doubts about whether she should have bought such a pricey item (it was actually one of best buys). But I have no doubt that the benefits she will gain and the enhanced communication she will experience and offer to others will more than outweigh the monetary cost.

But she was wise to question herself. How often do we buy things/clothes/foods that are either totally unnecessary or simply excessive and surplus to our needs?

And it also brought me back to this morning's gospel reading. When Jesus went up to Jerusalem he found that the Jewish teaching about sacrificial offerings had become an excuse for rampant exploitation and money-making. A sort of religious consumerism. And he showed how he felt!

I think it is worth trying an Ignatian-style meditation on this passage:

Imagine you are one of Jesus' followers at that time. You are quite entranced by this man and his straight talking manner. His teaching on love is captivating and you are carried along - knowing this man is something very special - maybe not fully understanding - but also aware he is courting the displeasure of the religious hierarchy.

You are in a group of people who enter the outer courts of the Temple with him. Before you is a commercial marketplace - birds and animals of all kinds, busy stall-holders plying their trade. Be there, picture it... imagine the scene as you read the passage from John's gospel below... then close your eyes and allow the story to unfold in your mind's eye.

Where are you?
Close to Jesus?
In the background?
And what are your reactions as the events occur?

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body.

John 2:13-21

I wonder how you felt as Jesus overturned the tables and set the doves flying into the air?

I have just discovered a rather lovely little book by David O'Malley called Prayers to Start the Day. It only cost me three GB pounds but it is a gem - light enough to pack easily in a suitcase or handbag and with short but thought-provoking prayers to start each day.

This is the short meditation that I read this morning:

We are called to be children of the light, open, playful, honest and dependent upon God. Darkness creeps into our lives when we forget to play, when we choose isolation and take ourselves too seriously, as independent people. We are not made for independence. We are made to belong to a loving Father. We are children of the light, not of darkness.
Our hearts are restless, until we recognise our dependence on God.

After this meditation David O'Malley asks the following questions for the day ahead:

What shadows are there inside me as the day begins?

Where will lightness and truth be most accessible today?

Who will need the light of my presence today?

Where will I find darkness a threat?

If you like to start the day with some kind of Daily Office and your lifestyle is busy, then this book might well be a useful resource for you.

Prayers to Start the Day by David O'Malley SDB; Don Bosco Publications: ISBN 0-9548388-0-7

A short while ago I wrote a post on this blog about intercessory prayer. In it, I talked of the three areas of this type of prayer that seemed to be of interest:

• Who/what to pray for?
• How to pray for them?
• Why pray for them?

That particular post talked about 'Who/what to pray for'. Well, this is the second of the three and I'm thinking about 'How we pray for people/situations.' Those of you who find this area very easy might well be thinking, 'How? What does she mean, how? You just do it!' Ah, I wish it were so simple for me. And so, for any others who struggle with this area, here are three ways I have discovered to help.

This first way is the method I often use myself - it involves visualisation:

Once you are quiet and still in prayer, imagine God's hands held out in a cupped manner. Then (you have to be a bit Gulliver-ish here) think of the person or people you wish to bring before God in prayer. Imagine they are small enough to sit or lie in God's cupped hands and picture them there. I like to imagine them peacefully sleeping there.

Next visualise placing your own hands round God's hands and just allow yourself to feel... to feel whatever it is you do feel - compassion, love, perplexity, sadness - whatever is there inside you. And speak to God about what is on your heart and mind about the person/persons.

Then let the mental picture fade, before moving on to the next person or situation you wish to pray for.

Lighting candles is another way that people sometimes pray for others. These sorts of candles are called votive candles. Maybe you're not familiar with a church which has a votive candlestand available. Picture from if you are reading this, then you do have access to use an on-line version. OK - not quite the same effect - but it can be means of focussing your thoughts and spending some time praying for someone. Try it at this site:
Light a candle
or, if you wish the person to know you are praying for them you could try this one:
Post a prayer

A third suggestion is to use posture to help you. Instead of sitting or kneeling (or lying for those of us who like to go to sleep praying!) try standing. Intercession is partly about representing the person before God. Stand before God, open to God, and speak your prayer out loud.

And may God bless you as you intercede.

It's not just the birds that are twittering...

I've rather taken to this Twittering business! Not that I 'tweet' very often - just the occasional quote or comment - but it has become a source of interesting, and sometimes amusing, links and information. Some of the best bits I've read this week include:

Who, or what, was Jesus?
Something to get involved with:
Go Bananas

If you live near Coventry, UK
Something to ponder:
"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley.

A bit of light relief...

...just to pass the time