The Gospel spoke today about the love of enemies, that ability to reach out to those who persecute. Titus had that opportunity and lived it out so well. There’s a story told that in one of the concentration camps, after he himself had been struck and beaten, he was encouraging his fellow prisoners that they must love the guards, those who had inflicted punishment on them.
One of his fellow prisoners indicated how difficult it was, that it was impossible. You could not love someone who was that brutal and cruel. And Titus with that twinkle in his eye, had the ability to say, “You must love him, but perhaps not all the time, not all day, not at each moment.”
Love means reaching out to someone, even an enemy.
Most Rev. John Malley, O.Carm.
Homily, Second Mass of Thanksgiving (excerpt)
Beatification of Titus Brandsma
5 November 1985, Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, Rome
We remember with gratitude the leadership of Father Malley, Prior General of the Carmelites from 1983 to 1995. He died unexpectedly on 18 February 2012.
Arribas O.Carm., M 2021, The Price of Truth: Titus Brandsma, Carmelite, Carmelite Media, Darien, Illinois.
Is it really true that you do not have to love our enemies all the time?
That is Saint Titus’s famous quote, yes. I suppose that he wouldn’t have been named a saint if it wasn’t true. Titus was trying to help his fellow prisoners overcome hatred for the prison staff at Dachau. For the average person who isn’t aspiring to holiness like you and I, that was an incremental approach to practicing Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies. I think that for us, the bar is set a bit higher, and we are called to practice Christ’s love; after all, the Holy Spirit has poured God’s infinite, merciful love into our hearts.