Listening to some folks crow about the demise of the monstrous Al-Zarqawi made me think. What can be our attitude about enemies? Can we enjoy the death or defeat of an enemy? Must we pray for them? Can we pray against them? To get at this, I looked at some texts of St. Augustine.[snip]
Bringing together the texts, for Augustine the moral obligation we have to love enemies also implies praying for them. We should pray even for sinners and even sinful enemies, even enemies of the Church, in order that they convert and become friends. Christ, after all, while on the Cross prayed for those who crucified Him. Augustine thought that prayers of Christians led, for example, to the conversion of Saul. Stephan prayed for Saul while he was being killed.Woah!
Augustine points out, however, and this is really interesting, that prayer for enemies does not exclude the hope that enemies be punished by God, just as God punished the devil (qu. eu. 2.45.2)! Augustine does not foresee the eventual conversion of the devil, of course.
And for all you Latin afficionados, he gives the original text.
Boy my Latin rusty is! :-)