I’m struggling to understand what exactly the Church means by hatred. The Catechism says that it’s wrong to wish evil upon your neighbor, and Jesus prayed for his enemies and told us to do the same. But what exactly is hatred?
Here are two situations I’m struggling with:
1.) Is it okay to ask God to bring a nation (or family member, friend, etc.) to repentence by any means necessary–even harsh, drastic, and painful ones? Sometimes I wish that the country would actully collapse economically in hopes that it might bring our country to its knees and back to God. That might be faulty logic, but is it actual hatred? I always pray that God will convert our country and its people, and I hope that people listen to God without something awful happening. But I also recognize that often it is only when a nation is in serious crisis that it finds itself and finds its way back to God. So is it okay to pray for tragedies or crises if that’s what it will take to convert souls?
2.) How should we pray for enemies of the Church? For example, a group of homosexual activists recently desecrated the Blessed Sacrament in a church in Spain as a pathetic protest against Church doctrine. I know that Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of his persecutors, but then I pray the Magnificat where it exalts the fact that “He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones.” And David’s impreccatory Psalms ask for extremely harsh treatment of Israel’s enemies. Again, I know that we should first pray for their conversion, but is it okay to pray, “God, turn their hearts to you. But if they refuse your grace, deal with them harshly and never let them dishonor you.” How do you balance a desire for justice a need for forgiveness in prayer?
To be sure, I’m not talking about praying or hoping for bad things to happen out of spite or vengeance. But if your desire is God’s honor or others’ repentence, is it okay to pray or wish for bad things to happen if people still refuse to listen to God? Or is that the serious sin of hatred?
Thanks for your help