We hear a theme of love in today’s readings. Jesus gives His command to us at the Last Supper; “love one another.” We know how difficult this can be in this fallen world. We may have the best of intentions, striving to love everyone, but things get messed up. At times it is our fault. We may have said or done something hurtful that has caused pain for others. We too can be the recipients of harmful behavior, and we know how hard it is to forgive. Yet it is not impossible to heal, to forgive and seek forgiveness, we just need to ask for the assistance of God. God’s mercy and grace are always at hand!
I read the book “Left to Tell” recently. The author, Immaculee Ilabagiza is an example of living Jesus’ command to love one another. Her story is an inspiration to everyone; that with God’s help we can forgive, we can love, even those who hate us. Her story is about the extreme violence in Rwanda back in 1994. While the world watched over a million Tutsi’s were killed, simply because they were of a different tribe than the Hutu’s. This violence had been brewing for a long time, with other acts of brutality in the country’s past. The trigger to this holocaust was the killing of the Hutu president. Those who remained in power blamed the Tutsi resistance forces for this assassination and called for the extermination of all Tutsi’s.
Immaculee tells her story of survival, hiding out with six other women in a pastor’s home for three months. They faced narrow escapes from the violence all around them. It was during her time of confinement in the very tiny bathroom where they hid that she had an intense interaction with God. She would pray for up to twenty hours a day using the only thing she had from her family; her father’s rosary. It wasn’t easy for her as she faced the same temptations as we do from Satan; he tried to get into her head and lead her to hatred for those who were killing. But with God’s grace Immaculee was able to overcome these thoughts and was able to forgive, to love those who were seeking her life. Truly an amazing story!
I encourage everyone to read this book because of the powerful message she gives. A message of love and forgiveness that we can use in our lives. A message of Jesus’ command lived out; love one another.