“Love Your Enemy”
The Emperor heroically practiced the commandment to
love your enemy.
Throughout his life he continually, and in exemplary ways, pardoned others. Emperor Karl suffered greatly from lies, slander and many hardships throughout his life. Yet, the ultimate example of his pardoning others were the words he uttered on his deathbed:
I forgive all my enemies, all who have slandered me, and all who have worked against me.
On April 5, 1925, Rudolf Brougier, former aide-du-camp, wrote in his memoirs about Emperor Karl before his ascension to the throne in 1916:
[He had] an authentic faith in God, was generously good-hearted, charmingly affable, untiringly faithful to duty, and had an exceptional aptitude for military leadership. His naturally humble and unaffected disposition was strengthened by his proper upbringing. He lacked airs, and the need to ‘play to the gallery’. With all natural cheerfulness he accepted his heavy burden, although its weight was already pressing down upon him. The Archduke’s courage and fearlessness for his own personal safety was already well known and acknowledged; the disdain for his own personal danger remained characteristic of him as emperor, which he preserved throughout the worst of times.
On the other hand, Venerable Karl felt completely responsible for the welfare of his subordinates. His demeanor of pure charity in association with his deep faith formed the great mainspring of his persistent striving for peace. In 1916, as Heir-Apparent, he already considered his chief goal to be the attainment of a quick and honorable end to the war; from the very first day of ascending to the throne he started to put all of his efforts towards this effort: to protect the peoples of his empire from further sacrifices, and to rule as a peace emperor over a rejuvenated Austria.
It is hard to believe that a man with such virtues and noble character could be so bitterly opposed and slandered in order that his reputation might be destroyed. Not only did the Emperor suffer from the confiscation of his personal property, but his good name was destroyed by lies and falsehoods.
Sacred Scripture teaches that the standard of holiness can be measured by one’s capacity to love your enemy. In light of this criterion we can grant that Blessed Karl had a high degree of virtue.
My Lord and God, You teach us in the “Our Father,” to forgive the sins of others, so that our sins may be forgiven. Help me to imitate the example of Emperor Karl so that I might forgive all injustices done against me. Hear my petition and grant my request [mention your intention here] through the intercession of Blessed Emperor Karl.