What has Jesus taught his disciples about love?

In the Gospel according to Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus said,
“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”.
Is there a new way to love our enemies?

Pray for your enemies

Praying for your enemy opens you up to the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Forgive your enemies

Loving your enemy does not mean:
  • You have to add them to your Christmas list, or
  • make them your best friend, or
  • excuse their actions
it means you forgive them, with the knowledge that God is both merciful and just.

How would you feel?

Loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you is liberating. You can find yourself in pitched battles with the people who hate you, always seeking the upper hand, always noting who’s up and who’s down, and always analyzing every slight. Praying for them can make you feel even better and change your attitude towards them. So what Jesus is telling us is hard, but it’s not impossible. And it’s necessary, too, because ultimately he is inviting us not only to forgiveness and charity but to something else: freedom and happiness
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The Bible tells us that we are in a conflict and Satan is doing everything he can to make you fail. In 1 Thessalonians 5:6, we learn that we should not sleep as others do,
“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober”.
But how can you prepare for anything?

What can we learn from Jesus?

The very act of becoming Christians put us in unfamiliar territories. Christ has called his followers to stop seeking earthly riches as in Matthew 6:19,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”.
He also tells us not to worry about the future as in Luke 12:22
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear”.
We should also live sacrificially to seek the good of others as in Matthew 22:39
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”.
All these run contrary to what the world demands of us as Christians. Christianity offers ways to prepare ourselves, and they include:

Pray

If you wish to know what God wants, you have to begin by asking in prayer. He will lead and guide you to a place of peace and safety. Our prayer requests should be to learn the will of God.

Listen

We have to listen to the voice of God so that we can know and do God’s will.

Watch

Saint Paul teaches us to watch and be ready. We should watch with joy and gladness.

Store

The kinds of things we need to store are those things that feed our light within.

Improve

Even though God does not expect us to be perfect, we should make sure that each day we are a little better than the previous day.
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He who possesses Christian perfection will obtain salvation. How do we define perfection, and what can we do to attain it?

Spiritual Union

According to the Catholic Dictionary, “Christian perfection is the supernatural or spiritual union with God which is possible of attainment in this life…”. Once we manage our lives in the light and guidance of God, we are open to receive God’s love.

Ways to reach perfection

This perfection consists in charity, in the degree in which it is attainable in this life. For example, Romans 13:10 says that “Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law”, which is also part of Christian perfection. Therefore the law means that we should increase the proportion of our charity activities. These active services are fervent acts of God that exclude your soul from the mortal sin. Also, from venial sin or any other affections which separate your heart from God. Furthermore, according to the Book of Matthew 22:37, Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind”.

The Primary object of Charity

God is, therefore, the primary object of charity; while our neighbor is the secondary object. This, however, is not limited to necessary and obligatory duties, but extends to our friends, strangers, and enemies, and may advance to a heroic degree, leading a man to sacrifice external goods, comforts, and life itself for the spiritual welfare of others. This is the charity taught by Christ by word in John 15:13, which says, “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends”.
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