Love Is Not Just a Matter of Feeling…

This weekend the Gospel passage is on the love of God and love of neighbor.

We need to love God:  Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, in response to His total love for us, means that we should place God’s will ahead of ours, seek the Lord's will in all things and make it paramount in our lives.  There are several means by which we can express our love for God and our gratitude to Him for His blessings, acknowledging our total dependence on Him.  We must keep God's Commandments, and offer daily prayers of thanksgiving, praise and petition.  We also need to read and meditate on His word in the Bible and accept His invitation to join Him in the Mass and other liturgical functions.

We need to love our neighbor: God’s will is that we should love everyone, seeing Him in each of them.

LoveSince every human being is the child of God and the dwelling place of the Spirit of God, we are giving expression to our love of God by loving our neighbor as Jesus loves him or her.  This means we need to help, support, encourage, forgive, and pray for everyone without discrimination based on color, race, religion, gender, age, wealth, or social status. Forgiveness, too, is vital.  We love others by refusing to hold a grudge for a wrong done to us.  Even a rebuke can be given as an act of love, if it is done with the right heart. We also express love through encouragement and by helping others to grow.  We express agápe (filial) love in meeting the needs of others by using the talents and blessings   that God has given us to comfort each other, to teach each other and to share the Gospel with each other, in deeds and in words.

Mother Teresa once said of herself, “By blood and origin, I am all Albanian.  My citizenship is Indian.  I am a Catholic nun.  As to my calling, I belong to the whole world.  As to my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus.”  It is this relationship of belonging and the loving service which grows out of that belonging which the bible calls ‘Covenant.’ What is the intensity of my relationship with God and my neighbor?

There is a story about a young woman who was in great distress because she had lost a sense of God in her life.  She complained to her elderly grandmother, “Why doesn’t God let me feel his presence? If only I could feel him and know that he has touched me.”  Her grandmother said, “Pray to God, right now.  Close your eyes and pray to him.  Ask him to put out his hand and touch you.”  The girl closed her eyes and prayed fervently.  Then she felt a hand on her head.  “He touched me.  He touched me,” she cried out.  Then she said, “You know, his hand felt just like your hand.”  “Of course it was my hand,” her grandmother said.  “That’s how God works.  He takes the hand that is nearest and uses that.” ‘Could I be that hand’!

If you give a grade to your practice of ‘Love of God and Love of Neighbor’, 1 to 10 what would be your point (separately to each)?

In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church