The National Catholic Review
In the gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus is asked to identify which is the greatest commandment. He responds, "’You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind.’" And second, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt 22:34-40) Usually in homilies on the topic, we focus on that second part, loving the neighbor. But what about the first? What does it mean to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all our mind? What does that look like? My own first inclinations move toward remembering and openness. In so much of scripture, particularly in the Old Testament, the community is called upon to remember how good God has been to them. And it’s out of that recollection that they respond. We come to love God more and more as we appreciate more deeply what he’s been doing for us. By openness, I mean a willingness to let God in. In our human lives, love is not just about loyalty or ecstatic praise or bringing flowers home -- although, note to my colleagues on the America staff, flowers are always nice. No, love is also about letting the one you love in, isn’t it? Letting yourself, with your fears and vulnerability, be exposed. Others’ thoughts? How do you interpret loving God? Jim McDermott, SJ

Comments

Anonymous | 10/23/2008 - 12:10pm
Therefore, when you decide to undertake this work and feel by grace that you are called by God, lift up your heart to God with meek stirring of love. Have God in mind who made you and redeemed you and graciously calls you to this work. Accept no other thought of God, not even all of these, but only as you desire. A naked intent directed towards God is sufficient without any other cause but God. ~ The Cloud of Unknowing, Chapter 7
Anonymous | 10/23/2008 - 12:08pm
The kernel of prayer is desire - in the words of St. Benedict this is called the 'intent of the heart'. But this inward stretching forth of our being toward God is such a naked reality that the mind finds it hard to grasp. It can seem nebulous and without form. Words provide approximations to this mysterious reality and allow its influence to extend for a longer period. What would a relationship between two lovers be without expression in words - even though love is not fully expressed. Our desire for God is even less capable of being reduced to words; it is larger than life. Language is woefully inadequate to describe what transpires at the depths of our being. We cannot hope for an exact correlate of interior processes, but we can be helped by approximations, especially overlapping ones, that convey part of the truth. ~ Michael Casey, OCSO, Toward God, page 92