BY CATHERINE PUNSALAN-MANLIMOS, PH.D. | February 27, 2021
Today’s Readings

I cannot read the Gospel from today without calling to mind the activist Valarie Kaur and her TED talk from 2017. Drawing from her Sikh tradition, she found a way of responding to the anti-Muslim sentiment that reached a height in the United States after 9/11 that she calls “revolutionary love.” When I listened to her TED talk after the January 6 riot on the Capitol, her words rearticulated eloquently what I understand as a Christian to be the meaning of the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel. I felt the familiarity of her invitation because I understood it to be the invitation of Ignatian spirituality. 

revolutionary grace

When confronted by an enemy, stand in wonder and curiosity. What is this person trying to express in what I hear as hateful and cruel? What wounds is this person nursing that is causing so much pain that they lash out violently? It takes revolutionary love—that is, grace—to be able to take a posture of wonder and curiosity that makes possible seeing the wounds of another, a seeing that can soften hearts even towards enemies. It is revolutionary love that makes possible the desire to tend their wounds because we remember that we too are wounded. 

When I hear curiosity and wonder, I am reminded of the invitation of Ignatian spirituality to openness and receptivity to another—welcoming who they are in their complexity and brokenness. I am also reminded of the invitation to mercy, because we have been shown mercy and are called to make that mercy present in our compassion, even for our “enemies.”

For Reflection: 

  • Where are you being challenged to show mercy? 
  • What does “revolutionary love” look like in your work for justice? 

10 replies
  1. Barry Naylor
    Barry Naylor says:

    Hi,
    Many thanks for today’s reflection. I understand and embrace the need to work on loving our perceived “enemies” – often identified as the stranger, the immigrant, the person of another faith, etc. What I find difficult is striving to love those who promote hatred, division, suspicion, those who want to build walls between people. For me, these are my “enemies” and often brother and sister Christians – I pray for them daily but in social media etc my thoughts (and sometimes my words) are anything but loving.

    Reply
  2. John Daniels
    John Daniels says:

    I spent my life at UDM! Thank you for your posting, and for inviting me to return to Valerie Kaur’s powerful video. I am so grateful to know that you are at UDM. It was there in the Leadership Institute that I found my calling to work with those without homes. De. Kaur’s call to wonder about them, to listen to their stories, to tend their wounds, and to care for ourselves as we labor together! Such wisdom, and so necessary! I pray that we meet someday. Meanwhile, blessings in your work. Blessings and love

    John

    Reply
  3. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    When are we called to show mercy? Well, by the nature of our lives we are called everyday to show mercy. In the hospital room we are called to show mercy to those who have been working for 12 hours, for those who inadvertently left something in our wound, who those who reach to help someone that needs it more, for those who don’t notice our presence All of these dear Lord, need your attention and mine to mercy. We show mercy to those who get on the last bus stop and want a seat and all are taken, we show mercy to another when we give them our attention when they have not gotten it from anyone else. Mercy, dear Lord, is our attention to the others you have created in my universe that need assistance or help.Thank you, dear Lord, for your reminder to me!. .

    Reply
  4. Mary McKenna
    Mary McKenna says:

    I loved the line “What is the person trying to express that I hear as hateful and cruel?” Food for my thought…

    Reply
  5. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Thank you for lifting up Valarie’s work in today’s reflection! She has a book out now that expands on the concept of revolutionary love that she laid out in her Ted talk. It’s called See No Stranger. I highly recommend it!

    Reply
  6. Nell
    Nell says:

    I’m being challenged to show mercy and revolutionary love when I see a Catholic priest repeat lies and share hateful political comments on his FB page which are widely read and supported by his parishioners. The Catholic Church should NOT support insurrection or hatred toward entire groups of people. It makes me question not only my faith but his. I’ll try Grace.

    Reply
  7. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    There is so much hate and violence occurring around the world and in our own nation. My first inclination is to return in like kind hate. This is a good reminder to listen and wonder what kind of
    Pain these people are in to act out in hateful ways. Hate begets more hate and there’s no future in this. I will intentionally think about the hateful acts and wonder about their pain.

    Reply
  8. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    “Revolutionary love” – The Sikh community at the Golden Temple in the Indian city of Amritsar in the State of Punjab is known for its generosity and magnanimity. Day after day the Sikhs offer free food to thousands and thousands of visitors, cooked and served by their battalions of tireless volunteers.

    Reply
  9. Cathe
    Cathe says:

    Where do I stand with Mercy today? Experiencing an offensive comment by a person that I love – trying to understand that it came from their own pain – asking God’s help to “let it go” so that I’m able to move forward. Remembering God’s Mercy is what is healing and forgiving.

    Reply

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  1. […] I read something this morning on the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s lenten series that helps. Writing on today’s readings, Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos encourages […]

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