One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“The Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Hear, listen and understand this loving call and “you are not far from the kingdom of God.”
These words call me to a full immersion experience of love! It seems God wants me to focus on his love for me, my love in return and, flowing from our relationship, love for my neighbor (even the ones I don’t particularly like). I wonder about this call to my whole being: my passion, my intelligence and my will – all of me in loving relationship with the Lord. Such a humbling and challenging invitation!
I am mostly a mind-centered person, even in prayer. I wonder where the rest of me goes during such times? My heart does seem to have a different way of perceiving and relating to those I love. Perhaps with God I am wading safely in shallow water, rather than risking full body immersion?
What holds me back from this full immersion experience of love with God?
—Vicki Simon is the director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps in St. Louis.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.
—Excerpt of the First Principle and Foundation as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, SJ
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