Love Your Enemies / Our Ladys Practice of Faith as a Model for Our Own Faith
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
MP3 Disc 1 Received from Breslin
These Sermons were taped by Daniel Peper who
traveled and taped Fr. Hardon from 1990 to 1995
- Homily on Love Your Enemies
- Homily on Our Ladys Practice of Faith as a Model for Our Own Faith
1. Love Your Enemies
The Lord be with you.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus said to his disciples, You have heard the commandment: You shall love
your countryman but hate your enemy. My command to you is: love your enemies;
pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly
Father. For his sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and
the unjust. If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that? Do
not tax collectors do as much? And if you greet your brothers
only, what is so praiseworthy about that? Do not pagans do as much? In a word
you must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Homily: The Essence of Christianity: Loving the Unlovable
What we have just read is part of Christs Sermon on the Mount. Through three
chapters, the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of Matthews Gospel our Lord
compares the Old Testament morality with the New. He goes to the commandments,
You have heard it was said, but I tell you
., youve heard it was said, but
I tell you
. Whatever else is true about Christianity it is that the moral
demands of the followers of Christ are much harder. They require much more
of us than was ever required of the people in the Old Law. But if there is
one commandment that Christ raised to super human heights, it was the commandment
of loving our neighbour.
In the Old Testament the Jews were told to love their neighbour. What the
neighbour meant one of their own fellow Israelites. What the neighbour meant
someone who was related to you by kinship of blood, or the neighbour is one
who was close to you; intimate with you. But Christs teaching is super humanly
We never give a thought; pardon me, second thought to the fact that in all
the languages of the world including English, we speak of some people as being
loveable and other people being unlovable. Obviously, loveable people are those
we can love. Unlovable people are those who we cannot love. This in one sentence
is the heart of Christian morality. We are told to love unlovable people.
Say that again. We are told by Christ to love unlovable people.
Who are unlovable people? Oh, thats easy: those who dont love us, those
who are not kind to us, thoughtful of us. Who are unlovable people? Those
who offend us. Those who speak unkindly to us and about us. Who are the unlovable
people? All those people who except for God becoming man and dying on the cross
and meriting for us the grace to do the humanly impossible, we could not love.
They are the unlovable people. But that in one declarative sentence is the essence
of Christianity loving the unlovable.
Orthodoxy without Charity is Not Christianity
We are living in the most convulsive age in human history. We are living in
an age, our century, where there have been more martyrs for Christ than all
the nineteen hundred years from Calvary put together. Yet, as deeply and as
terrifyingly as our Faith is being challenged lets make sure we know what Christianity
really is. Of course we must believe. We must be orthodox believers. We must
believe that Christ is the living God who became Man. We must believe that
His mother is the Mother of God. We must believe that Jesus Christ is on earth
in the Holy Eucharist. We must believe how the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar
We call that orthodoxy. But I want to be very plain, orthodoxy is not enough.
One of my favorite phrases is orthodoxy without charity is not Christianity.
In other words, we must have, dear God, a strong, dare I say it, heroic
faith in our day. When bishops are openly declaring, I, I am the Vicar of
Christ, wed better have a strong faith. But faith, otherwise known as orthodoxy
is not enough. It must be faith joined with selfless charity. And that my friends,
that is what will convert, and I hope you agree with me, a paganized America.
Once a Christian nation, millions have lost their faith in Jesus Christ. But
if were going to retrieve these lost Christians, some sadly, members of our
own family, people who are nearest and dearest to us, we must not only believe
strongly, we must love selflessly, and of the very ones who dont love us. It
is then faith combined with Christ-like charity that will convert. And how
our country needs re-conversion beginning with the two capitals of paganism
in America. You may be surprised. They are Chicago and Detroit.
Lord Jesus, make us channels of your grace to others. Deepen our faith
in you as our God; our trust in you as a source of all the strength we need
in todays unbelieving world. But above all, dear Jesus, give us something
of your selfless love so that like you, we too, may be willing to lay down our
lives for those who do not love us, because in loving them we will be communicating
grace from you through us to them, because dear Jesus, only faith and love can
convert a sinful world. Jesus, we love you. Out of love for you we want to
love those who do not love us, because in loving them we are showing how deeply
we love you who died on Calvary out of love for us. Amen.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. Our Ladys Practice of Faith as a Model for Our Own Faith
Let us pray for the Holy
Father that God may give him the strength to proclaim the crucified Christ to
a self-loving world.
Let us pray to the Lord.
For all bishops in the Catholic Church that they will be faithful servants
of the Vicar of Christ.
Let us pray to the Lord.
For all priests and religious that we may be faithful to our commitment to
Let us pray to the Lord.
For all families that they may be modeled on the Holy Family, loving one another.
Let us pray to the Lord.
For all the people of the city of Detroit that they may rediscover Jesus Christ.
Let us pray to the Lord.
For our own personal intentions.
Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, grant that what we ask for in faith we may obtain through the intercession
of your Mother, the Mother of God, and our Mother. This we ask through Christ,
For about eight years now, Ive always offered the Mass on the First Saturday
of each month for the Marian Catechists, as I did today.
We might wonder why, and this is over the centuries, the Church has commemorated
Our Lady in a very special way on every Saturday of the year. Oh why? As one
of the approved revelations at Fatima, Catholics are encouraged to make the
First Saturday of each month specially dedicated to Our Lady. It all goes back
to the First Saturday of the first Holy Week, where as the Fathers of the Church
tell us, the only one amongst Christs followers who remained absolutely faithful
in believing in her Divine Son was His Mother. She was absolutely sure that
the torn, bleeding body of Jesus expiring on Calvary would rise glorious from
What Id like to do with you is trace Our Ladys practice of faith as a model
for our own loyalty to the Faith in todays, what a safe word, unbelieving world.
The Church tells us that Mary conceived her Son by faith in her heart before
she conceived Him in her body at Christs conception. Unless she had believed
that the Messiah to come would be the living God to be conceived of the Virgin
all of this had been foretold in the Old Testament. And the Messiah would
be of the family of David. And the Messiah would institute a Kingdom that would
begin in time but continue into eternity. All of this Mary believed before
she conceived Jesus at Nazareth. And the Church tells us, because she believed
that is why she was chosen to become the Mother of the Most High.
Mary Began Her Mediation of Grace at the Visitation John the Baptist Born Without Sin
Marys faith became evident shortly after she conceived Jesus when she visited
her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth told Mary, overwhelmed with surprise, How
is it that the Mother of my Lord should visit me? Dont let anyone ever tell
you that Mary did not know from the moment she conceived Jesus that the Child
in her womb was her God. Mary believed because Elizabeth, in effect, told her
as much. The moment Mary greeted Elizabeth, what happened? The grace from Jesus
in Marys womb penetrated through Elizabeth to John in her womb. And
John leaped for joy.
The Church teaches only one human person was conceived without sin, the Mother
of God. But one other human person was born without sin, John the Baptist.
Mary began her mediation of grace at The Visitation. Mary spoke and the child
in Elizabeths womb was sanctified.
Mary professed her faith in the Magnificat and what faith that was.
Mary had no doubt she was extraordinarily gifted by God. She knew God had done
great things for her and holy was His name. But she believed, how we need this
faith; Mary believed that everything she possessed was a gift from God. And
Mary never took credit for herself; for the gifts that belonged to God.
Marian Faith: Love and Pain are Inseparable and Indispensable to Each Other
In Bethlehem Mary believed that the Child she was about to give birth to, that
Joseph, Mary, and the unborn Child did not have a place even to stay most
of the human race goes to bed hungry every night. Hear it. Hundreds of millions
of people in the world are homeless. Let me repeat. Hundreds of millions of
people in the world are homeless Mary believed that the Child she gave birth
to in the stable in Bethlehem Whom she wrapped oh, how poetic can you be,
swaddling clothes thanks for the poetry. The inspired Greek says Mary wrapped
Him in rags. Spelled r-a-g-s. And laid Him in the manger. The Greek says
for manger trough. Spelled t-r-o-u-g-h. Yet Mary believed that this speechless
Child was the Word of God, by Whom the world came into existence. She believed
that this Child who no sooner was He born had to be fed, as the Fathers of the
Church tell us, at the breast of his mother; she believed this Child was her
Forty days later at The Presentation when Simeon speaking to Mary told her,
This Child of yours is to be the cause of the rise and fall of many and a sword
will pierce your soul. Mary had no illusions. To be the Mother of the Messiah
meant to be the Mother of the suffering Jesus Christ. And I dont believe there
is on earth a greater suffering than the suffering of a mother, deep down in
her heart, over the pain and suffering of her child.
How what Mary is meant to teach us; to believe, and what faith this takes
give the Trinity any day as a mystery of Faith compared with believing that
God is beneath, below, within, every pain we suffer. Mary believed that pain
and love are not only not separable, theyre indispensable, one to the other.
Mary knew by faith if you love Jesus Christ, you dont just endure or resign
yourself to suffering. Hear it. You accept pain. Hear it again. You love suffering.
Honest to God, you love suffering, not because anyone loves pain; thats what
pain means, that which we dont like.
That we can love suffering what you can experience of pain provided, what a
proviso, provided we believe that behind and within that suffering is a loving
God giving us oh, how many suffering souls Ive told this to in my forty-five
years in the Priesthood. Like the young teenage girl, suffering, not able to
speak, except in a broken chatter. She wrote me a letter. Im going to save
this letter. Call it a scroll. Her mind is perfectly alert. I told her, Our
Lord loves you very much. Suffering from muscular dystrophy, he loves you very
much. Otherwise he wouldnt be giving you this wonderful privilege of offering
so much to him out of love.
But you must have the Faith, deep Faith. Dare I say it; Marian faith. The
deepest faith of any human being in the history of the human race was the faith
of Mary; Marys faith when Herod wanted to kill her Son, so Joseph, Mary, and
Jesus fled to Egypt; faith to believe that many people dont want God. Hear
it, many people dont want God, they dont want to obey God. There are people
who hate God. And when God became man, God had to flee for the human life which
he assumed because of the hatred of a proud monarch.
All the faith it takes for us Americans to believe mysteriously that God was
behind our presidential elections last fall takes faith. Agreed? Faith to
believe. And the widespread legalization of murder; how dare our country, how
dare it, ever condemn any other criminal, how dare it, when it legalizes the
murder of the unborn children. How the faith we need, like Mary, to see God
and allowing the cause of the evil of our times, God must have a purpose. We
dont see with our bodily eyes, but we believe it with the minds of our souls
enlightened by faith; the faith of Mary when she found her lost Son and then
Jesus told her, How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must
be about my Fathers business? I believe that one of the hardest trials of
our faith is to lose or not experience that consoling presence of God which
strengthens us in serving Him.
But it was especially through the Passion of her Divine Son that Marys faith
was tested. We are told that Mary during Christs Way of the Cross made sure,
because of the large crowd following Jesus on the way to Calvary, she stood
at a corner where she could if not greet Him physically, at least see Him visibly.
And then the faith of Mary on Calvary; Mary we are told was covered with the
blood of her Son dripping from the Cross. The blood, except for her, He wouldnt
of had. Christ died on the Cross; placed as we believe in Marys arms; the
same body to which she gave birth to in Bethlehem. Marys faith is to be the
inspiration of our faith.
Jesus First Appeared After His Resurrection to His Mother on Easter Sunday Morning
In that long Holy Saturday with Jesus in the grave; but Mary absolutely sure
He would rise as he foretold on Easter Sunday. And over the years in giving
the Spiritual Exercises I never tire repeating what Ignatius tells us to tell
others; and on Easter Sunday though the gospels do not record it, but says
Ignatius, they dont have to, its too obvious; Jesus first appeared after
His Resurrection to His Mother on Easter Sunday morning.
Marys faith is to be the inspiration of our faith. We may say the experience
that she went through is the perfect revealed model of the experience of our
own lives. After over three thousand years of waiting for the Messiah, His
own chosen people when the Messiah came, what did they do? They shouted, Crucify
Him! And they added, His blood be on us and on our children.
Marys Faith in Gods Justice
Theres one more mystery of faith that Mary teaches us. Ive saved this for
the last. We have no reason to doubt that Mary was there when the crowd shouted
Crucify Him, crucify Him! But Mary knew, how well she knew, that the God
who became man and whom she conceived at Nazareth and gave birth to at Bethlehem
and was about to die in Jerusalem, she believed this God is not only a loving
God, not only a merciful God, hear it, hear it, this God is also a just God.
God is not mocked. When those frenzied Israelites shouted, His blood be on
us and on our children, they didnt realize it; one generation later, as I
never tire of telling my classes and the audiences I speak to, by the year 70
A.D., the Romans besieged Jerusalem. For months the Jews held out. Finally,
they broke through the walls of Jerusalem. And as the historian, Josephus tells
us; they cut down all the trees in all the forests around Jerusalem. And Josephus
figure is, and they crucified 90,000 Jews and the verb is, crucified.
We need this faith; faith in Gods love, but also faith in Gods justice.
You dont mock the laws of God by destroying the family as is being done carefully,
shrewdly, diabolically in our country. You dont legalize the murder of innocent
unborn children. You dont popularize having one city after another legalize
homosexuality. You dont forbid prayer in public schools. You dont deprive
husbands and fathers of a just wage, so that now over 50 percent of the laboring
force in America is women. You dont use the media from morning till night to
mesmerize millions in believing in a dream world that does not exist; and not
paying for it. Im no Jeremiah, no Isaiah, but I say this with complete security;
the days of America are numbered.
America is in a Civil War
A publication I read last night; most people dont know it, but America is
in civil war. A war between two philosophies of life; one that stills believes
in God and one believes that man is his own god. We believe God is just.
And that is why we pray; pray for the conversion how it pains me to say this,
because I can say it for members of my own family for the conversion of those
who are so dear to us that our nation as we believe, brought into being because
we believe in the God in Whom we still say, In God we trust.
How this nation of ours will recover its faith in following the Mother of
Jesus as she stood on Calvary. We too, loving during the Passion of the Mystical
Christ in the world today, believe on the one hand, that those who remain faithful
to Jesus Christ will be rewarded, and those who reject Christ will be punished.
Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of God
END OF CD.
Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica