Jackie Angel affirms that, yes, we really are supposed to pray for our enemies. The devil would like nothing more than for us to have hatred for one another.
Jesus’ words on loving your enemies, from the Sermon on the Mount, are clear:
“You have heard that 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, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”Matthew 5:43-47
St. Paul’s words on the matter from his letter to the Romans:
“Bless those who persecute you, bless them and do not curse them…. never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”Romans 12:14, 19-20
The Catechism also speaks of our duty to love our enemies:
“This same duty extends to those who think or act differently from us. The teaching of Christ goes so far as to require the forgiveness of offenses. He extends the commandment of love, which is that of the New Law, to all enemies. Liberation in the spirit of the Gospel is incompatible with hatred of one’s enemy as a person, but not with hatred of the evil that he does as an enemy.”CCC 1933
Jackie also shares a story about an enemy of hers who would gossip about her in high school. She decided to pray for him for six months. At the end of that time, they became friends.
If you have anger in your heart toward someone, go to confession about that. The devil wants us to have hardened hearts. Loving your enemies instead will change you and the world for the better. So pray for your enemies, that God’s grace will become abundant in their hearts. Show people what it looks like to be Christian.
Meet Jackie and Bobby Angel
Jackie Francois Angel is a full-time worship leader and speaker. Bobby Angel is a campus minister and theology teacher at a Catholic high school. Married in 2013, they have three beautiful children and strive to grow in holiness each day!