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Saturday, February 23, 2002

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St. Polycarp

Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 5:43-48

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how to become our own worst enemies

"My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly Father." —Matthew 5:44-45

The Lord commands us to "observe His statutes, commandments and decrees, and to hearken to His voice" (Dt 26:17). If we obey Him, He will raise us "high in praise and renown and glory" (Dt 26:19), and we "will be a people sacred to the Lord" (Dt 26:19). But if we do not obey the Lord, we do not love Him (Jn 15:10; 1 Jn 5:3), and, if we do not love Him, we are doomed. Therefore, we must obey the Lord, even if we have to suffer and die to do it.

One of the Lord's commands is: "Love your enemies" (Mt 5:44). Obviously, this command is humanly impossible to obey. Only God Who is Love (see 1 Jn 4:16) can love anyone, especially enemies. Consequently, we must ask God to give us His divine power to love our enemies. We must accept this grace because, unless we love our enemies, we are not obeying God and therefore not loving Him. Thus, we either love our enemies or become our own worst enemies.

Love your enemies, or be your enemy.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for the grace of forgiving and loving enemies. I accept this grace and thereby prevent self-destruction.

Promise:  "In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." —Mt 5:48

Praise:  At his martyrdom, St. Polycarp's executors offered him the chance to deny the faith and spare his life. Polycarp replied: "For eighty-six years I have served Jesus Christ and He has never abandoned me. How could I curse my blessed King and Savior?"

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001