...but I say: love your enemies.
Since the beginning and the progress of a devout life depend entirely upon interior mortification, let this be something that is always thoroughly dear to you. Be firm in overcoming the obstacles that are met along the road to perfection; be big‑hearted in the execution of your desires, keeping them in conformity to the divine good pleasure, and, do not be fearful of any opposition that you may encounter that would try to discourage you. These are general principles for everyone and they become better understood with the practice of them. Remember that we are in service to a Lord who is sweetness itself and one who wants our love. Therefore, let Jesus reside in our hearts, the thought of eternity in our minds, the world kept under our feet, and, in this way gain merits.
"May God always be blessed in times of prosperity as well as adversity, and let us try to live ever in conformity with his holy will."
"The bravery of a soldier and his skill are recognized in the battle that he fights; the sturdiness of a plant is made evident as soon as it resists the violent impact of the wind; the quality of a metal is proved by the repeated blows of a hammer. Therefore, be courageous: our most loving Father is totally intent on having us grow in evangelical perfection, in detachment from created things, in total abandonment to his most holy desires."
Jesus sits before us as a teacher. In the Sermon on the Mount we listen to his wisdom and to his instruction. Life is ours if we keep his commands. And one of his commands is that we love our enemies. How difficult it is to hear! The world is filled with violence, and we may fear for our safety and security. But if we are to follow Jesus we are commanded to have love and compassion for enemies. They may remain enemies, yet we are to be revealed as members of Christ’s body in how we remain faithful in the struggle.
Entering more deeply into the disciplines of Lent we set out on the road to perfection. This perfection is an ever-growing likeness with the ways of God. One who is begotten of God is known by compassion, love, and forgiveness, not by anger and bitterness toward enemies.
This perfection is not easily attained. St. Gaspar teaches that the disciples are moved by the chisel of the struggles and trials of the world. It is there that we are revealed as children of God.
Any relationship goes through this type of purification as we detach ourselves from prior ways and observe the ways and actions with and for the beloved. So too the relationship with God teaches us to observe his ways and learn to do his will.
- What actions in my daily life reveal me as a child of God?
- What actions reveal me as a child of the world?
- What is God teaching me this Lent?
 from Letter 94, April 15, 1814, to Countess Bianca Ginnasi
 from letter 11 to Maria Tamini, November 11, 1810, Resources 4, pg. 3
 from letter 51 to Countess Lucrezia Ginnasi, February-April, 1813, Resources 4, pg.3‑4