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Oct 27, 2021 124 Father Augustine Wetta O.S.B, USA
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“Faking It“

When I was very young, I remember asking my father whether it was really necessary to love one’s sister (even loving one’s enemy seemed more reasonable at the time). My father, of course, insisted that it was. And I recall explaining to him at length that this would be very difficult— even impossible—given the current circumstances, and that perhaps we should consider giving her up for adoption. My father said to me, “Jason, you may find this hard to believe, but some day, you will discover that you do love your sister. And when that day comes, you will actually want to be nice to her. In the meantime, however…fake it.”

At the time, this sounded like awfully cold advice, but if we are to put into action what Christ demands of us in the Gospels— if we really are to love our neighbors as we love our own selves—then there are going to be times when we don’t feel very predisposed to that emotion. Because, let’s face it, some people are very, very difficult to love. Even God can seem awfully distant at times, but if you think about it, those times when we must force ourselves to “fake” this love for a neighbor are often the most sincere instances of love, because those are the times when we can give love without hope of recompense. And if the wise ones are right, then the curious result of all this feigned affection is that an unfeigned affection begins to grow out of it.

So until we arrive at that point where loving everyone comes naturally, perhaps its best just to fake it—that is, to act as though we love others, whether or not we really feel it, and hope, in the meantime, that some day we will be able to see them with the eyes of faith.

Heavenly Father I surrender all my struggles in enduring certain people in my life. Give me the strength and courage to bear them gently with love even when I feel like giving up. Help me to be patient, kind, slow to anger, and compassionate. Whenever I feel like walking away, remind me of the grace you extended to me when I was at my lowest point. Let me love them just as you love me. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

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Father Augustine Wetta O.S.B

Father Augustine Wetta O.S.B is a Benedictine monk who serves as chaplain to the Saint Louis Priory School. He is the author of “The Eighth Arrow” and “Humility Rules.” Father Augustine lives in Saint Louis Abbey at Saint Louis, Missouri.

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