Catholic Commute S02E54 How to love your most annoying neighbor

5 Steps to seeing the person through the sin

We’ve all heard “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Turns out that this is actually really hard. We connect the sinner and the sin, not only slightly, but pretty strongly together. The last time I got punched, it took a long time for me to separate out the sin from the sinner.

In this episode I discuss 5 steps to helping us to really love those neighbors who are super annoying. Sometimes those neighbors live next door, while sometimes we’re married to them. Whoever it is that annoys you, you have a Christian duty to love them – directly from our Lord Himself!

Click below to read the show notes!

S02E54 How to love your most annoying neighbor

Patron saint: St. Teresa of Calcutta

Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe (or Gonxha)[10] Bojaxhiu (Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; Anjezë is a cognate of “Agnes”; Gonxhe means “rosebud” or “little flower” in Albanian) on 26 August 1910 into a Kosovar Albanian family[11][12][13] in Skopje (now the capital of North Macedonia), Ottoman Empire.[14][15] She was baptized in Skopje, the day after her birth.[10] She later considered 27 August, the day she was baptised, her “true birthday”.[14]

She was the youngest child of Nikollë and Dranafile Bojaxhiu (Bernai).[16] Her father, who was involved in Albanian-community politics in Ottoman Macedonia, died in 1919 when she was eight years old.[14][17] He may have been from Prizren, Kosovo, and her mother may have been from a village near Gjakova.[18]

According to a biography by Joan Graff Clucas, Teresa was in her early years when she was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service in Bengal; by age 12, she was convinced that she should commit herself to religious life.[19] Her resolve strengthened on 15 August 1928 as she prayed at the shrine of the Black Madonna of Vitina-Letnice, where she often went on pilgrimages.[20]

Teresa left home in 1928 at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, to learn English with the view of becoming a missionary; English was the language of instruction of the Sisters of Loreto in India.[21] She never saw her mother or her sister again.[22] Her family lived in Skopje until 1934, when they moved to Tirana.[23]

She arrived in India in 1929[24] and began her novitiate in Darjeeling, in the lower Himalayas,[25] where she learned Bengali and taught at St. Teresa’s School near her convent.[26] Teresa took her first religious vows on 24 May 1931. She chose to be named after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries;[27][28] because a nun in the convent had already chosen that name, Agnes opted for its Spanish spelling (Teresa).[29]

Teresa took her solemn vows on 14 May 1937 while she was a teacher at the Loreto convent school in Entally, eastern Calcutta.[14][30][31] She served there for nearly twenty years and was appointed its headmistress in 1944.[32] Although Teresa enjoyed teaching at the school, she was increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta.[33] The Bengal famine of 1943 brought misery and death to the city, and the August 1946 Direct Action Day began a period of Muslim-Hindu violence.



Jesus, you made Saint Teresa an inspiring example of firm faith and burning charity, an extraordinary witness to the way of spiritual childhood, and a great and esteemed teacher of the value and dignity of every human life.

Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially those who seek to love their neighbor better.

May we follow her example in heeding Your cry of thirst from the Cross and joyfully loving You in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, especially those most unloved and unwanted.

We ask this in Your name and through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and the Mother of us all.



Note on “love” – it’s not a feeling, a desire, or a preference. It’s a VERB – and a dang painful one too.

  1. See yourself as the younger brother, the Prodigal son.
    1. Luke 15:18-20 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’
    2. Some sins in this world are more popular to “hate” than others.
    3. All our worldly sins pale in comparison to our sin against God. (sin against the Holy Spirit)
    4. You can literally walk up to the worst murderer, rapist, etc. and realize that your magnitude of sin is about the same as theirs. 10,050 talents is about the same as 10,500 talents of debt
  2. Separate the sin from the sinner
    1. We’ve all heard “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
    2. Be careful what you say – especially in your own head. (As a Man Thinketh, James Allen)
    3. We do this naturally for ourselves
    4. We do it relatively easily for our family, especially when we feel good about them.
    5. We owe this to all we meet.
  3. See the desperation of the little person within that neighbor
    1. Psychologists tell us that virtually everyone is “abused” or gone through trauma to some level through their life.
    2. Beyond that, we all are given heavy crosses.
      1. For the religious, our cross may be a temptation or a burden to carry while trying to follow God
      2. For the secular, the “cross” may just be a crushing weight of emptiness and internal despair.
    3. Henry David Thoreau “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
    4. In the Facebook era, this is more difficult to see than ever! (family recently cancelled coming out last minute without even telling us)
  4. Consider your own obligation, your weight of their glory.
    1. Lewis: It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.
    2. This is a real obligation we need to consider as we move through our lives. At work, at mass, in the shopping mall
    3. Consider the effect of scandal (Irish priest joke)
    4. Romans 14:15  If your brother or sister[i] is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
    5. This obligation is a solid basis for a true “love” – to will the good of the other.
  5. Embrace humility
    1. In some way, this point is only to sum up everything I’ve said so far.
    2. This is not a one-and-done choice. This is hour-by-hour, or even minute-by-minute.
    3. Recently I’ve gone through some realizations about just how broken I am. I’ve fallen in a couple ways that would be embarrassing.
    4. One of the points of penance I took was to always remember that I, even I, can do things THAT stupid. Have a little bit of forgiveness.
    5. If you haven’t yet encountered that view of yourself, LOOK OUT! Don’t ever say “Surely, Lord, I’m not so bad as that…I would never do that terrible thing!” (Lord, I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there…)

  1. See yourself as the younger brother, the Prodigal son.
  2. Separate the sin from the sinner
  3. See the desperation of the little person within
  4. Consider your own obligation, your weight of their glory.
  5. Embrace humility

Lewis: Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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