It is so hard to live the Lord's Prayer.
There is a place near my neighborhood where an off-ramp intersects with another ramp. The ramp I take has a yield sign; the other ramp has the right of way. However, often when I stop to yield for the other car or cars, a car behind me lays on the horn, trying to get me to go. This is how my day starts on my way to work. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on the day), this incident is immediately after morning mass. Fortunately, because hopefully I have had an infusion of grace to help me deal with this situation. Unfortunately, if I succumb to the urgent feeling of wanting to indicate to the driver behind me my irritation. This is such a minor thing, and yet it makes me very angry when it happens.
Jesus asked the Father to forgive his executioners for they did not know what they were doing. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and to pray for our enemies. Today was the feast of the apostles Philip and James, martyrs. They too, were to forgive their executioners. So I should at least be able to get over being honked at.
And then there is Osama bin Laden. It is truly difficult to pray for such a man to receive mercy from God. His hatred has cost so many lives. However, Jesus was crystal clear. He was not making a suggestion; he was commanding us. We must pray for our enemies, and bin Laden was Public Enemy Number One. This is where grace transcends our natural instincts. Despite our instincts, this forgiveness is for our own good. It just does not feel that way. However, that is why feelings are not our ultimate gauge for determining the rectitude of an action.
St. Vincent of Saragossa
11 hours ago