Love your enemies — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:44

“Love your enemies” isn’t about feeling sympathy or affection for someone who has hurt us. It means not hating, not taking revenge, and being willing to do good to those who don’t love us or who have wronged us. It means loving with the same love with which God loves us.

We can still ‘feel’ antipathy and rejection of the person who wronged us, but we go beyond feeling and ‘decide’ not to take revenge or hate them and, if necessary, to do good to them and even pray for them. It’s a gift from God.

Love for one’s enemy doesn’t exclude, but rather presupposes the requirement that the guilty party should be brought before a court of law.

Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Tweets and replies 16 June 2020

About the photo: On 9 July 2018, Bishop Silvio Báez, seen on the left, and the Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes (right), were joined by Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag and a group of priests, seminarians, and human rights volunteers to travel to Saint Sebastian Basilica in Diriamba, Nicaragua. They set out to rescue a group of Franciscan missionaries and paramedics who were trapped in the basilica, which had been under siege by pro-government sympathizers.

When Cardinal Brenes, Bishop Báez, the Nuncio, and their cohort arrived, they were attacked by the angry crowd that had assembled outside the church. Bishop Báez was one among several in the group who were injured, as you can see from the wound on his arm and the blood on the sleeve of his shirt.

After the ordeal, the bishops and clergy returned to the Cathedral of Managua, where they paused to pray together. You can learn more about their harrowing journey to Diriamba on the English website of independent Nicaraguan news outlet, Confidencial.

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