WHAT is an enemy? A personal, an individual enemy is he who has done us

a personal injury. The enemy, in a general or collective sense, are

they--a people, a class or party--who are opposed to our interests,

whose presence, doings or sayings are obnoxious to us for many natural

reasons. Concerning these latter, it might be said that it is natural,

oftentimes necessary and proper, to oppose them by all legitimate

This opposition, however lawful, is scarcely ever compatible

with any high degree of charity or affection. But whatever of aversion,

antipathy or even hatred is thereby engendered, it is not of a personal

nature; it does not attain the individual, but embraces a category of

beings as a whole, who become identified with the cause they sustain

and thereby fall under the common enmity. The law that binds us unto

love of our enemy operates only in favor of the units, and not of the

group as a group.

Hatred, aversion, antipathy, such as divides peoples, races and

communities, is one, though not the highest, characteristic of

patriotism; it may be called the defect of a quality. When a man is

whole-souled in a cause, he will brook with difficulty any system of

ideas opposed to, and destructive of, his own. Anxious for the triumph

of what he believes the cause of right and justice, he will rejoice

over the discomfiture of his rivals and the defeat of their cause. Wars

leave behind an inheritance of hatred; persecution makes wounds that

take a long time to heal. The descendants of the defeated, conquered or

persecuted will-look upon the generations of their fathers' foes as

typifying oppression, tyranny and injustice, will wish them all manner

of evil and gloat over their downfall. Such feelings die hard. They

spring from convictions. The wounds made by injustice, fancied or real,

will smart; and just as naturally will men retain in their hearts

aversion for all that which, for them, stands for such injustice. This

is criminal only when it fails to respect the individual and become

personal hate.

Him who has done us a personal injury we must forgive. Pardon drives

hatred out of the heart. Love of God is incompatible with personal

enmity; therefore such enmity must be quelched. He who says he loves

God and hates his brother is a liar, according to divine testimony.

What takes the place of this hate? Love, a love that is called common

love, to distinguish it from that special sort of affection that we

have for friends. This is a general kind of love that embraces all men,

and excludes none individually. It forbids all uncharity towards a man

as a unit, and it supposes a disposition of the soul that would not

refuse to give a full measure of love and assistance, if necessity

required it. This sort of love leaves no room for hatred of a personal

nature in the heart.

Is it enough to forgive sincerely from the heart? It is not enough; we

must manifest our forgiveness, and this for three good reasons: first,

in order to secure us against self-illusion and to test the sincerity

of our dispositions; secondly, in order to put an end to discord by

showing the other party that we hold no grudge; lastly, in order to

remove whatever scandal may have been given by our breach of

friendship. The disorder of enmity can be thoroughly cured and healed

only by an open renewal of the ties of friendship; and this is done by

the offering and acknowledgment of the signs of friendship.

The signs of friendship are of two sorts, the one common, the other

special. Common tokens of friendship are those signs which are current

among people of the same condition of life; such as saluting, answering

a question, dealing in business affairs, etc. These are commonly

regarded as sufficient to take away any reasonable suspicion of hatred,

although, in matter of fact, the inference may be false. But the

refusal to give such tokens of pardon usually argues the presence of an

uncharitable feeling that is sinful; it is nearly always evidence of an

unforgiving spirit. There are certain cases wherein the offense

received being of a peculiar nature, justifies one in deferring such

evidence of forgiveness; but these cases are rare.

If we are obliged to show by unmistakable signs that we forgive a wrong

that has been done, we are in nowise bound to make a particular friend

of the person who has been guilty of the wrong. We need not go out of

our way to meet him, receive or visit him or treat him as a long lost

brother. He would not expect it, and we fulfil our obligations toward

him by the ordinary civilities we show him in the business of life.

If we have offended, we must take the first step toward reconciliation

and apologize; that is the only way we have of repairing the injury

done, and to this we are held in conscience. If there is equal blame on

both sides, then both are bound to the same duty of offering an

apology. To refuse such advances on the part of one who has wronged us

is to commit an offense that might very easily be grievous.

All this, of course, is apart from the question of indemnification in

case of real damage being sustained. We may condone an offense and at

the same time require that the loss suffered be repaired. And in case

the delinquent refuse to settle amicably, we are justified in pursuing

him before the courts. Justice is not necessarily opposed to charity.