Today’s Saint

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May 21 | Love Your Enemies

Saint Christopher Magallanes

A.D. 1869–1927

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us: “Love your enemies.” 

We may have heard this teaching a lot. We may even think about doing it from time to time. But do we realize just how radical this teaching really is?

The life and death of Saint Christopher Magallanes shows us.

Christopher was a priest in Mexico during a time of violent civil strife and religious persecution by the government. When the government started closing down seminaries, Christopher opened a secret seminary in his parish. 

Christopher taught non-violence to his parishioners, and yet one day, he was falsely accused of supporting a violent rebellion. As he was walking to Mass, he was arrested. How Christopher treated his executioners in the four days that followed was nothing short of remarkable.

He gave them all of his possessions. He prayed for them constantly during those four days, personally forgave them, and as his execution approached, absolved them of their sins. When the firing squad had lined up, he spoke his last words, a prayer for unity: "I die innocent, and ask God that my blood may serve to unite my Mexican brethren." The shots rang out, and Saint Christopher Magallanes returned to his home with God. 

Saint Christopher Magallanes loved his enemies up to the moment they killed him. This was a man who truly followed Jesus’ teaching and example. 

But what about us?

There are two reasons we struggle with this teaching. The first is the obvious, we cannot imagine ourselves loving our enemies. But that’s because we are confused about what love is and isn’t. The second is the blinding reality that if we are called to love our enemies, we are called to love everyone. 

What is love? To love is to will the good of the other. To love is to desire what is good for the person you are directing your love toward. You do not have to like someone, or agree with them, to love them.

Jesus knows that if you can love your enemies, you can love everyone. If your enemy sits within Jesus’ definition of neighbor, who isn’t your neighbor? 

“Love your enemies.” Another beautiful but difficult teaching. Desire good for others. The more you desire good for other people, the more those good things will come into focus in your own life.


I will love my enemies.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Cancer

Feast Day: May 21

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Eugene de Mazenod

Canonized: May 21, 2000

Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

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