We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.
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 first letter of John is full of reminders of what it means to be a Christian. The author emphasizes the essential connection between loving God and loving others. We cannot have one without the other, but somehow, we – I – keep forgetting this. Despite my proclaimed love for God, I am at times unloving to those around me – sometimes habitually. It would seem I have forgotten how to love God and others.
The author of 1 John shows us the root of the problem – and the solution – in the first line: “[God] first loved us.” At times I lose touch with my own belovedness – that God deeply and intimately loves ME. Forgetting this reality diminishes my capacity to love others.
Today I make time to ask God to help me: experience, accept, and savor God’s love for me.
Only then do I ask how I can better share that love with others.
—Catherine Heinhold is the Pastoral Assistant for Ignatian Programming at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. where she facilitates prayer programs and the Young Adult Community.
God, I ask you to give me the grace to experience, to accept, and to savor your deep and personal love for me.
—Catherine HeinholdPlease share the Good Word with your friends!