Day 11: Original Wholeness

BY MARISSA FLORES MADDEN | February 24th, 2024
Today’s readings

Today’s Gospel contains three commands from Jesus: Love your enemies.  Pray for those who persecute you.  Be perfect.

My work at Catholic Charities Family Immigration Services has made me keenly aware of the persecution of newcomers to our country.  Today, immigrants in the U.S. have countless enemies who hold ever increasing power, policies, and platforms which only exacerbate the persecution of those who are seeking safety and a chance at a better life.  Just a few timely examples include the state of Texas placing razor wire in the Rio Grande to deter migrants from river crossing (and gravely injuring those who do attempt to cross), governors transporting asylum seekers across the country under false pretenses to gain political support, and continuous calls in Congress to increase militarization of the southern border.

Loving and praying for such people seems challenging at best.  But it’s the third command – “Be perfect” – that might provide the most hope and empower us to love more wholly.  The original Greek for perfect can also be translated as whole or complete.  Using this translation, the command no longer seems impossible.  Be whole.  

Praying for one another (and not just our loved ones) reminds us that there’s a place deep within each of us (enemies included) that is whole – or as Irish poet John O’Donohue described it, “a place where we have never been wounded.”

Many of us began this Lenten season with the blessing of ashes and the proclamation “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  And as we are reminded of what God has done with the dust, may the ashes that mark us for these forty days invoke the belovedness of all of creation – our original wholeness.  A wholeness that knows no borders or prejudices.  A wholeness that manifests itself in love and prayer.  A wholeness that is revealed to us through community – where there are no more enemies and where everyone belongs.

  • Is there a Lenten practice that can bring me closer to healing and wholeness?
  • How can I practice loving more wholly my friends, family members, and eventually my enemies?
  • What do I need to do to forgive all and love my enemies?


3 replies
  1. Lenore Vargo
    Lenore Vargo says:

    Today’s meditation is especially powerful in light of the political attack on Annunciation House in El Paso by the state of Texas.

  2. sonja
    sonja says:

    To love one’s enemies, means for me to understand where they are coming from and why they do what they do. With understanding, comes compassion and healing. It never excuses, or makes their wrong actions right. They have to live with their conscience, and I with mine.


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