The Fifth Commandment
If therefore thou offer thy gift on the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother has anything against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go. First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
AE 1013:2. All who are in hell are in hatred against the Lord, and thus in hatred against heaven, for they are against goods and truths. Thus hell is the essential murderer, or the source of murder itself. It is the source of murder itself because man is human from the Lord through the reception of good and truth. Consequently, to destroy good and truth is to destroy the human itself, thus to kill man.
AE 1013:3. [E]veryone while he lives in the world is in externals, and these externals are taught and trained from infancy to counterfeit such things as are honest and decorous, just and equitable, and good and true. Nevertheless, hatred lies concealed in their spirit, and this in equal degree with the evil of their life. And as hatred is in the spirit, it breaks forth when the externals are laid aside, as is the case after death.
AE 1013:4. This hellish hatred against all who are in good is deadly hatred because it is hatred against the Lord. This can be seen particularly from their delight in doing harm, which is such as to exceed every other delight in degree, for it is a fire that burns with the lust for destroying souls. Moreover, it has been ascertained that this delight is not from hatred against those whom they attempt to destroy, but from hatred against the Lord Himself. Now since man is human from the Lord, and the Human that is from the Lord is good and truth, and since those who are in hell are, from a hatred against the Lord, eager to kill the Human, which is good and truth, it follows that hell is the source of murder itself.
AE 1016:2. Since hatred is hellish fire, it is clear that it must be removed before love, which is heavenly fire, can flow in and give life to man by the light from it. And this hellish fire can in no way be removed unless man knows where hatred comes from and what it is, and afterwards turns away from it and flees from it. In everyone by inheritance there is hatred against the neighbor. For everyone is born into the love of self and of the world, and in consequence conceives hatred, and from it is inflamed against all who do not make one with him and favor his love, especially against those who oppose his lusts. For no one can love himself above all things and love the Lord at the same time. Neither can anyone love the world above all things and love the neighbor at the same time, since no one can serve two masters at the same time without despising and hating the one while he honors and loves the other. Hatred is especially with those who are in the love of ruling over all; with others it is enmity.
AE 1016:3. It shall be told what hatred is. Hatred has in itself a fire which is an endeavor to kill man. That fire is manifested by anger. There is a seeming hatred and consequent anger with the good against evil, but this is not hatred, but an aversion to evil; neither is it anger, but a zeal for good, in which heavenly fire inwardly lies concealed. For the good turn away from evil, and are seemingly angry at the neighbor, in order that they may remove the evil; and thus they have regard to the neighbor’s good.
AE 1017. When a man abstains from hatred and turns away from it and shuns it as diabolical, then love, charity, mercy and clemency flow in through heaven from the Lord, and then for the first time the works which he does are works of love and charity. The works he had done before, however good their appearance might have been in the external form, were all works of the love of self and of the world, in which hatred lurked whenever they were not rewarded. So long as hatred is not put away, so long man is merely natural, and the merely natural man remains in all his inherited evil. And he cannot become spiritual before hatred, with its root, which is the love of ruling over all, is removed. For the fire of heaven, which is spiritual love, cannot flow in so long as the fire of hell, which is hatred, stands in the way and shuts it out.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- What are some steps by which we may be reconciled to a brother who has something against us?
- Does it seem true that in most criminal acts, the action is not really intended to hurt a certain person as much as it is intended to attack what is good and true, and thus the Lord Himself? Is this true of terrorism?
- Murder is an effort to kill what is human, that is, to destroy what is good and true. Can you see that goods and truths are what make us truly human beings?
- Does it make sense that we cannot really love any neighbor as long as we are harboring anger and hatred toward someone in our hearts?
- How can we distinguish good zeal from ugly anger? CL 365 gives three ways. What can you think of or remember?
- Not everyone has an equally fiery disposition on the outside. What is the root of hatred in all of us, regardless of how anger may or may not manifest itself?