"If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that?" —Matthew 5:46
Fasting is extremely powerful in the realm of the Spirit. Ahab, the most wicked man of his time, fasted and God postponed Ahab's punishment to the next generation (1 Kgs 21:27-29). Fasting together with prayer is the only means by which certain demons can be expelled (Mt 17:21, NAB). Prayer itself is so powerful that it can move mountains (Mk 11:23-24).
As awesome as prayer and fasting are, almsgiving is greater than either of them (Tb 12:8). Yet we can do something even greater. To love our enemies is the ultimate act of faith, love, and power. Jesus fasted, prayed, and gave alms. However, none of these effected our salvation. What brought about the salvation of all people throughout all times was Jesus loving us sinners, even to the point of dying for us.
The greatest happenings on the face of the earth have been the effect of loving our enemies. For example, the conversion of Saul to Paul was the result of Stephen loving his enemies. The most effective missionary efforts were the fruit of Christians continuing to love and reach out to those who had murdered their fellow missionaries. The big gun in the Christian arsenal is: "Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly Father" (Mt 5:44-45).
Prayer: Father, do the greatest miracle of all in my life. Give me the grace to love my enemies.
Promise: "In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." —Mt 5:48
Praise: Ursula prays for those who burglarized her home.
Reference: (To learn more about loving your enemies, read the Bible daily. For encouragement, we have a forty-tape audio series of teachings on the New Testament. To start, order the four tapes covering Matthew, #700, 701, 702, and 703.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2005
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