This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 31th step:
(31) To love one's enemies (cf Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27).
Of course, St. Benedict is merely giving us the teaching of the Gospel here, but it helps to have it isolated for our reflection and to internalize the meaning of loving the very ones who seek to harm us or those who we feel are out to get us.
I have heard this same injunction given by people advocating the practice of Eastern religions or self-help gurus to adoring listeners who would scowl if they were hearing it from a Christian pulpit. They say our "enemies" are our best teachers.
Either way whether we should just love our enemies because they are our brothers and sisters or if we should love them because they can aid us on our endless egotistic search to really "know" ourselves--there seems to be universal wisdom (as everything that Christ taught proves in the end to be) to the maxim.
When we view people as enemies we drink in their hatred, their warped vision and sometimes we merely inflate our own warped vision on people that would be shocked to find out that they were even considered enemies by us.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus has something to teach us here. There was a particular sister in her community who got on her nerves. She went out of her way to be even nicer to this sister, so that the sister after Therese death was convinced that she was one of Therese's most loved companions. In the end she really was--after all what is love if it isn't putting to death our false self that is threatened and insecure?