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The Greatest Commandment
Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Pius X, Pope
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, here I am. Thank you for this moment, for the gifts of life and your love. Help me to be open to hear what you have to say, or to simply enjoy being in your presence. I believe in you, trust you, and love you—increase my faith, hope, and love.
- Loving the Lord with All Your Heart: To love the Lord with all our heart—is this even possible? A common assumption is that love must just come, that it grows organically, and that it cannot be forced. That’s infatuation, not true love. Any kind of love–for a parent, spouse, child, or friend–will reach a point during which it is no longer easy. For love to be true, it must be a free choice and commitment. So, to love God with our whole heart requires the commitment of our time and attention.
- But…Everything?: “All your heart, soul, and mind” sounds rather extreme, even rather dangerous. The world says that loving anyone totally is a risky proposition—what if the one we love rejects us or lets us down, leaving us with nothing? And the world is even more terrified to love God totally, who cannot even be seen. This makes sense; after all, to love totally is to trust that we will find fulfillment precisely by not looking for it ourselves, but by looking to fulfill someone else. That old, almost clichéd phrase, “love grows when it is given away,” is actually spot-on in this regard.
- A Leap of Faith: True love takes a leap of faith, which is what frightens nonbelievers. Many people are okay with going to church every now and then or volunteering for a charity from time to time (and posting it on Instagram, of course). Loving like that does not require us to make any kind of leap, any kind of definitive change, any commitment. But loving God with everything means that all we do is for love of him. We trust that he will take care of us. That is heroic; that is what it means to be a saint.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for this little moment spent with you. I believe that you have spoken to me, I trust that you sustain me, and I love you because you have loved me first. Help me remain in your love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do something small to witness to my faith.
For Further Reflection: Pope Francis speaks frequently about loving the Lord—here is his homily from this previous Palm Sunday:
Written by Br. Riley Connors.