What struck me the most about today’s saint, St. Callistus, is that the only recorded biography of him was written by his enemy.
Imagine that it’s the only story of his life for generations to come, and anyone who would want to refute it would face quite a challenge.
Why? Because St. Callistus’ antagonist was also a saint, St. Hippolytus.
They lived in interesting times, I can tell.
The Church was in upheaval in the 1st century. Pope Callistus was facing opposition, led, for the most part, by Hippolytus, who believed Callistus was being too lax for forgiving adulterers, murderers, and apostates.
His camp believed that there were some sins that were so bad, they couldn’t be forgiven even in confession. Callistus believed otherwise.
Hippolytus would even become Callistus’ direct rival, rising up as an anti-pope.
Eventually, he would reconcile with the Church and die a martyr’s death. In the end, the rivals embraced in heaven.
Reading his life, I see that the Lord allows things to happen — with all its reversals — for the greater good.
Even if someone wills only bad for us, as long as we remain steadfast in God’s ways, the good will triumph in the end.
St. Callistus’ life showed that God’s mercy is so big and wide that He can turn even archenemies into eternal friends in heaven.
May we remember that we’re all called to have mercy and that following Christ also means loving our enemies.
What do I do when faced with opposition in carrying out God’s will?
How do I deal with people who wish evil upon me?
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