Two Great Commandments (Part II)

Love thy neighbor –
Love of God, at least from the human nature perspective can be a fairly easy leap for most people.   But Jesus takes things a step further and tells us to love our neighbors we love ourselves.
This begs a couple of questions.
First, do we love ourselves ?  Maybe, do we love ourselves too much ?
We should have a healthy love for ourselves. That love is not the narcissistic self indulging, all absorbing, inward turning to to the exclusion of all else kind of self love.
Instead, we are looking at a love that is appreciation, and care of the gift that we have received.  Our very lives a gift from God and this body the temple and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  This body which bears the imprint of the Most High God.
Do we take the time to truly appreciate this gift that we received.  The gift of our faith, that thing that is our very lives and gives those lives meaning and direction.  Do we feed and care for the gift of our faith ?   Caring for ourselves, means loving and caring for the gifts we receive from God.

In turn, we receive gifts from God not for ourselves, but those gifts are given to us to be stewards of those gifts for others.  We are charged to love our neighbors.
You say “Great, but who is my neighbor?”.    Good question !.. Who are our neighbors. not just the people who live near us.  Not just our family, and not just our friends or people we know at church.  Our neighbor is everyone !   You are called to love everyone in the same example of Christ.   Jesus both spent time with the elders, rabbis, and those of power, but he also spent time with the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the handicapped, and all sorts of people.
You say, ” How can you love everyone ?”.
In the time of Saint Francis, leprosy was common and all society shunned them and they would not come near them because of the smell and the fear of contracting the disease.    Saint Francis after his conversion realizing his call to love his neighbor, climbed off the horse he was on , embraced the leper he met on the road, and kissed his cheek, and embraced the man.   This would have been totoally unthinkable in his time, but Francis found that very freeing and found a sense of overwhelming joy at sharing the love of God with his neighbor.
Sometimes the choice of loving your neighbor is hard. It is not within our human nature to love those who we find offensive, either in appearance or in disposition.
Loving your neighbor does not mean that they will love you in return.  Possibly the only love you will be able to show them is a smile at first, or maybe some humility, or possibly a smile or friendly word.
However, in time, given the opportunity you will win them over, or if not then at least you have planted the seed.    Within these simple acts comes the gateway to the blessings of knowing that deeper love of neighbor is not only possible, but doable.
Love is self diffusive. It can not be contained or held in.  Therefore, the more love we share with our neighbors, the bigger difference you make not only in your own life, but in the life of the entire world.
The souls that you touch, through the love you share, will be passed on and touch others.  Sure, you may not be given the chance to see those seeds grow, but be assured that it has touched lives and it returns to you in the form of feeding your faith.
“Laboria et ora” Love requires both work and prayer.  We should pray not only for ourselves but also for our neighbors we are trying to reach. Pray for the barriers in our hearts to fall so that we are free to love as we should.  Pray for our neighbors to receive the gifts and that they are able to share those seeds with the others who are their neighbors as well.
May God give you the gift of his peace…

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One Response to “Two Great Commandments (Part II)”

  1. SaintlySages Says:

    In short, to love ourselves and others as God our Father loves us, His adopted children. God bless!

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