BELIEVE IN LOVE
For more than a few people, Christian religion ends up a religious system that is difficult to understand, and above all, a flimsy framework of laws that is much too complicated for someone to live correctly before God. Don’t we as Christians need to concentrate our attention much more on taking care of what’s essential in the Christian experience before anything else?
The Gospels have put down Jesus’ response to a group of Pharisees who ask him what is the most important commandment of the Law. Thus it is that Jesus sums up what’s essential: the first is «You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind», the second is «You must love your neighbor as yourself».
Jesus affirmation is clear. Love is everything. What’s decisive in life is to love. This is the basis of everything. What’s most important is to live before God and before others in an attitude of love. We don’t need to get lost in accidental and secondary things, forgetting what’s essential. Out of love springs everything else. Without love everything ends up twisted.
When he speaks about love for God, Jesus isn’t thinking about feelings or emotions that can arise in our hearts; nor is he inviting us to multiply our prayers and petitions. To love the Lord our God with our whole heart is to recognize God as the ultimate Font of our existence, awakening in us a complete adhesion to God’s will, and responding with an unconditional faith to the universal love of the Father of all.
That’s why Jesus adds a second commandment. It’s not possible to love God and then turn our backs on God’s sons and daughters. A religion that preaches love for God and forgets those who suffer is a huge lie. The only truly human stance before any person we meet in our path is to love that person and seek that person’s good as we would wish for ourselves.
All this way of speaking could seem way too old-fashioned, too worn-out and not at all effective. However, even today the main problem in the world is the lack of love, a lack that dehumanizes over and over any efforts and struggles to build a more human living condition.
Some years ago a French thinker, Jean Onimus, wrote thus: «Christianity is still in its infancy; we’ve only been working at it for two thousand years. The mass of dough is heavy and we’ll need centuries of maturing before charity ferments it». Jesus’ followers mustn’t forget their responsibility. The world needs living witnesses that help future generations to believe in love, since there’s no hopeful future for human beings if we end up losing faith in love.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf