“Ask a Priest: How Do I Love Someone Who Annoys Me?”

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Q: I’m struggling to love a certain woman in my parish. I realized that my love is so imperfect. When she annoys me, I find myself ruminating about what she did (even when it’s minor). It becomes a preoccupation, and this is preventing me from loving her as Christ commanded us. I can’t figure out why she annoys me so much! So how do I love her? How do I deny the feelings within me and just love her for who she is? – Mary

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to remember that Jesus asked us to love everyone. He didn’t say that we must like everyone.

Some people will naturally annoy us. This is the human condition.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t love this person.

Love is an act of the will, not the feelings. We can’t control our feelings, but we can control our will.

You can say, “I will be charitable and respectful toward this person because she is a daughter of God and has the image of God in her. Jesus suffered and died on a cross for her — so that’s a good reason for me to love her.”

If you find it difficult to love this person, that is OK. That gives you a chance to purify your love.

Loving those who are easy to get along with doesn’t require much effort. But to love someone who is difficult takes effort. And that is precisely when you can show yourself a real Christian.

Think about it: This woman can help you grow in holiness.

Count on my prayers.


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