"If anyone says, 'I love God,' but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 Jn 4:20
The Gospel has always been clear. While believers are called to follow Jesus and enter deeply into the mystery of God's love, following Jesus without loving our brothers and sisters is empty. Only the full response to all in love is sufficient, and while we all fail at this command as often as we succeed, our success is not the goal. Rather, our willingness to step beyond our small circle of friends and to love everyone as brothers and sisters in Christ is the true test of our faith.
The saints never doubted this. Although many of them had harsh tempers, they knew that their faults needed to be addressed. They did not try to defend their poor behavior but asked God for the faith to see all people with new eyes. St Jerome, to whom we owe the first translation into the Latin Vulgate, a feat that made the scriptures available to everyday people, was notorious for his temper. At the same time, especially after his vitriolic and judgmental pen got him into trouble, he write about his great remorse, and it was his sorrow and repentance that earned him the title saint.
Like St Jerome, we are all called to acknowledge our sins and return to the full love of God and neighbor. Our willingness to admit our wrongs is the first step in drawing closer to God. Being open to seeing others as God sees the, and to search for the good in each person is the best antidote to a critical and judgmental nature.
Today, revisit a person for whom you have little respect and ask to see him or her with God's eyes.
What faults in others are the most difficult for you to see?