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Saturday, March 7, 2020

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Sts. Perpetua & Felicity

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

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"He rains on the just and the unjust." —Matthew 5:45

Once a teenager deliberately disobeyed her mother's midnight curfew and tiptoed into her house several hours later. Expecting a severe conflict, she entered her bedroom to find her bed neatly made, the sheets and blankets arranged the way she liked, and her favorite candy bar on her pillow. Stunned by this expression of unexpected love, she couldn't sleep. Weeping uncontrollably, all she could do was think of how much God and her mother loved her. That night, she surrendered her heart to Jesus and asked Him to be Lord of her life.

This mother was imitating God, Who pours down gentle, life-sustaining rains on those who don't deserve His love (Mt 5:45). God sustains and blesses those who hate Him. This is like a continuous flow of water over a hard rock. The water relentlessly probes the rock for a crack. It may take many years, but eventually the water will split the rock and polish it smooth.

"Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8). "There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure" (1 Cor 13:7). When we love our enemies perfectly, as our Father loves them (Mt 5:44-45), God's love will reach their hearts (Rm 12:20), even if it seems like there is no sign of change.

How can we have the ability to love those who hate us? Well, God's rain also falls on us, "the just" (Mt 5:45). "The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rm 5:5). "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). "Love your enemies" (Mt 5:44). "Prove that you are" children of God (Mt 5:45).

Prayer:  Father, make me perfect in love (Mt 5:48).

Promise:  "Today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly His own." —Dt 26:18

Praise:  St. Perpetua was a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa. St. Felicity was her loyal slave and an expectant mother. Both were catechumen-martyrs.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 8, 2019

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