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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 10

People who have been hurt badly say how difficult it is to forgive. Today’s Gospel gives us the secret of how God changes our hearts. Jesus says: “You have heard it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

That is the secret. Make yourself pray for those you have trouble forgiving.

The prayer has to wish them well. It has to ask God to bless them. This goes against the grain of our feelings. It is the last thing we want to do. Our feelings want them to hurt as we are hurt.

It is a question of our will going against our feelings. This is what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Not my will (not my feelings—wanting to escape from the pain) but what You want.

God wants us to pray for those who have hurt us—to wish them well and to ask God to bless them.

If you do this regularly, your feelings will abate.

Whom feelings want to send to hell
but wills instead to wish them well;
Angry feelings soon abate,
leaving peace in place of hate.

Father Paul Bryan, C.Ss.R.
Ephrata, Pa.

Scripture readings for today: Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:43-48