What do we love?

| Deacon Michael Nevin | October 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
Trees Creation

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Many years ago, my wife decided to do some interior decorating in our home, and stenciled the “Great Commandment” from the Gospel of Matthew on the walls of our stairway: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Seeing these words of our blessed Lord daily as I descend and ascend the stairway has become a valuable tool in examining the question posed to us all: What do we love?

Because we were created in the image and likeness of God who is love, our vocation in life is to love. In this short passage, Jesus says “you,” “your” or “yourself” eight times, emphasizing the personal call to enter into the divine beatitude and be transformed into the image of the Father’s only Son. He commands us to love God with the totality of our very being that makes up a rational creature: heart, soul and mind.

To love with all our heart is to encounter God in the most hidden place of being, especially in prayer; to love with all our soul is to live in union with God, because it has its origin and final end with God in heaven; to love with all our mind is to give assent to the truth that God has revealed to us by choosing the good with our intellect and will.

Jesus also uses the word “all” to emphasize the point that we owe everything to God, and that he wants from us the total gift of self as an offering of the creature to the creator.

The second half of the commandment, to love our neighbor, flows out from this gift of self. Enraptured by the totality of giving oneself to God, love overflows generously to others who were also created in the image and likeness of God. One cannot love God and hate his or her neighbor, nor can we hate God and love our neighbor, because love for God is inseparable from love of neighbor; its wellspring is the very heart of God.

Most of us know, from lived experience, that practicing this two-fold commandment to love is very difficult. By faith, we know that it is impossible to love as we should without God’s grace. God has blessed us with so many gifts, and yet it is easy to allow our disordered passions and weakened wills to steer us off course from our eternal homeland.

We face the temptation to love the many things that God has created, especially ourselves out of selfishness, but God has not abandoned us while we make this pilgrimage. God has sent his only Son and his Holy Spirit upon the Church, to help us make the holy decision to love God and neighbor. May we be strengthened to choose this love.

Deacon Nevin was ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2010 and serves the parishes of St. Thomas the Apostle in Corcoran and Sts. Peter and Paul in Loretto. He also works with the Institute of Diaconate Formation at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity and serves at the chancery in the Office of Worship.


Sunday, Oct. 29
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Category: Sunday Scriptures