Our correspondence to the first commandment


III. The Gospel of the Mass tells us: One of the learned men came to Jesus and asked him: Which commandment is the first of all?

Jesus answered: The first is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your being14. He expects from every man an unconditional response to his love for us.

Our love for God shows itself in the thousand little incidents of every day: we love God through work well done, family life, social relationships, rest.... Everything can be converted into works of love. "While we carry out with the greatest possible perfection, within our mistakes and limitations, the tasks proper to our condition and our profession, the soul longs to escape. It goes towards God, like iron attracted by the force of a magnet. It begins to love Jesus, in a more effective way, with a sweet shock".

When we correspond to the love of God, obstacles are overcome; and on the contrary, without love, even the smallest difficulties seem insurmountable. Everything becomes bearable if there is union with the Lord. "All these things, however, are difficult for those who do not love; those who love, on the contrary, find them light. There is no suffering, however cruel and unbridled it may be, that love does not make bearable and almost null and void "16. The joy maintained even in the midst of difficulties is the clearest sign that the love of God informs all our actions, for, as St. Augustine comments, "in that which one loves, either one does not feel the difficulty or one loves the difficulty itself (...). The labors of those who love are never painful."

The love of God must be supreme and absolute. Within this love there is room for all the noble and clean loves of the earth, according to the particular vocation received, and each one in its own order. "It would not be just to say: "Either God or man". God and man" must love each other; the latter, never more than God or against God or equal to God. In other words: love for God is certainly prevalent, but not exclusive. The Bible declares Jacob holy and loved by God; it shows him spending seven years to conquer Rachel as a woman, and those years seem few years to him -so much was his love for her. Francis de Sales comments on these words: "Jacob," he writes, "loves Rachel with all his strength and with all his strength he loves God; but he does not love Rachel as God, nor God as Rachel. He loves God as his God above all things and more than himself; he loves Rachel as his wife above all other women and as himself. He loves God with absolute and sovereignly supreme love, and Rachel with his marital love; the one love is not contrary to the other, for Rachel's does not violate the supreme advantages of God's love.""

Love for God necessarily manifests itself in love for others. The outward sign of our union with God is the way we live charity with those who are close to us. By this all will know that you are my disciples...19 the Lord has told us: in gentleness in our dealings, in mutual respect, in thinking favorably of others, in little helps at home or at work, in kind and timely fraternal correction, in prayer for the needy....

Let us ask Our Lady today to teach us to correspond to the love of her Son, and that we may also know how to love her children, our brothers and sisters, with deeds.