National Catholic Register

Opinion

Love Your Enemies

BY Jim Cosgrove

October 28 - November 3, 2001 Issue | Posted 10/28/01 at 2:00 PM

 

In this “time of terror” I think it fitting to call to mind one who terrorized the early Church — Saul of Tarsus.

If you remember from the Book of Acts, he was complicit in the hunting down of Christians and brutally stoning them to death. Victims included St. Stephen, the first martyr. But those first Christians — in the light and spirit of Christ — prayed for the persecutor. As a result, Saul the “terrorist” went on to be the great St. Paul.

When the followers of Christ were being terrorized in the arena — at the hands of the emperor — they likewise prayed for them as a result, pagan Rome became the Holy See (or, holy home).

Down through the ages it was the “forgiven and forgiving” who changed the course of history. A young boy — Patrick — is terrorized, taken into slavery. He escapes, forgives, and returns to convert those who made his slavery possible — the leaders in Ireland.

The Lord gave “the Word” and tells us “be true to my word.” And the most difficult word to live is “forgive.” The “peace on earth” that we all yearn for must begin with me; it all depends on “the me” forgiving the enemy.

This requires supernatural charity that comes by way of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Lord who died at the hands of terrorists also died for them; so that we may have the grace to overcome evil through forgiveness.

In the words of St. Paul, “Let us not receive the grace of God in vain.” Let us go out to all the world in the peace and in the love — and in the forgiveness — of Christ. Amen.

BOB BOTTOMS

Sebastopol, California