My husband and I had an arranged marriage. Kind of. In the course of my life-long faith in Christ, there have only been a couple of times I “heard” Him speak clearly to me. The most remarkable occasion was when the Lord showed me who I would eventually marry—a man who was little more than an acquaintance at the time. I said to my friend later that evening, “How am I going to marry him? I don’t even love him!” My deep and enduring love for my husband started in part with the conviction that he was the man Jesus had chosen for me. Our sacramental marriage lived out over the years did the rest.

In today’s Gospel, those of us who want to be part of the kingdom of God are commanded to love the Lord. This can seem a little strange, because it contradicts the modern view of love which tends to define love as a sweeping, uncontrollable force which comes and goes. But we Christians look to Christ who shows us that true love has more to do with an act of the will than the experience of all-consuming feelings. Love is a decision. 

Whether or not we have loving “feelings” that accompany a relationship with God, He is expecting us to make an act of the will to choose to love Him. We trust that, along the way, our love for him will grow and deepen until we long to be fully united with Him forever. And the love we are called to is not a half-hearted, anemic kind of love. We are to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, and all of our strength. It is an all-in kind of love he is asking for, even when we just ain’t feelin’ it. 

While following this Great Commandment is more than just lip-service, it can be baffling to know how to love God. In the Scriptures, we are given Godly guidance on the subject. Today’s Gospel reading, in fact, goes on to say that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It isn’t a suggestion, it is another command that is inextricably linked to the first command. As a matter of fact, it is a fruitful cycle: loving God leads to loving others, loving others leads to loving God more!

Jesus issues many other commands and warnings, all of which help us know how to love God. For example, He charges us to share the Gospel message with others (Mt 28:19-20), to pray with confidence (Mt 7:7), to do good to our enemies (Lk 6:35), to carry our crosses Lk (14:27), and to radically avoid sin (Mt 18:8). He instructs us not to fear (Lk 12:32), to be humble (Lk 14:11), and to celebrate the Eucharist (Lk 22:19). Meditating on Jesus’ teachings and discovering how the Church has lived them out for over 2000 years offers us myriad ways to live a life of love.

Elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” It is remarkable how many times in the Gospels that Jesus commands us to act or not to act in a certain way. When we follow the commands of Christ, we demonstrate, by our actions, that we love Him. Before we know it, we will wake up one morning, look at Our Lord and realize that we are head over heels in love.

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Daily Reading


Saint of the Day


Saint Ludovico of Casoria

The first part of Saint Ludovico of Casoria’s life was somewhat “ordinary,” but not the second. Having had what he called a mystical experience, he began establishing institutions for all kinds of people in need. He even founded two religious communities.