Learning to love God.
The first commandment of the law of God tells us: “You shall love the Lord your
God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all
your strength.” This commandment being something that no human being has been
able to comply with to perfection except the Blessed Virgin Mary, we find
ourselves before the biggest challenge of our faith.
God loves us with unlimited, infinite, sweet and merciful love. He has created
us in his image and likeness so that we respond lovingly and be able to enjoy
his glory in the eternal life.
And how can we love God? Saint John tells us that if we cannot love our neighbor
that we can see then we cannot love God. And if we say that we love God but hate
our neighbor or don’t treat him with love, then we are liars.
The love of God is like a Light that enters our heart and shines upon our souls
with the Presence of God. It’s the fulfillment of the will of God who wishes
that we become holy as He is holy, that we become perfect as He is perfect.
Without God we are nothing, then without love we are also nothing.
We may live a religious life, filled with rituals and mortifications, we may
believe that we are very well before God, but our self justification is good for
nothing if we don’t learn to love our neighbor with the love of God.
The Lord presents us daily opportunities to show our love for others. Every
person is a temple of the Presence of God. If we forget this then it is very
easy to feel attitudes that reproach love and take us to despise God truly
present in our brother or sister.
Every conversation, every look, every gesture or action in favor or against our
neighbor is the scenario of our relationship with God. God is present in the
needs of our neighbor, He is truly present and our hearts know it, but
conveniently ignore the needs of our neighbor and justify themselves.
It is very easy to sin against the love of God because this happens normally
undetected by ourselves and others, since in our human judgment we simply say
that certain person has such a character and the matter is resolved. But before
the eyes of God this is something very different, our attitudes are recorded in
the Book of Life and on judgment day we will see clearly that we didn’t learn to
love God and we will regret bitterly not having loved our neighbor as ourselves.
The love of God in our hearts is a dynamic presence that acts when we have a
smile, a conversation, a relief, a counsel, an affection or understanding and it
becomes a favor or a merciful action. In other words we allow God to act through
us when we love our brothers and sisters.
In the same way we close our door to the love of God when we act with self love.
In our selfishness we deny a smile to someone who needs it, we deny a
conversation to someone who may be lonely, we deny relief with our sympathy to
someone who expects support, we deny affection to relieve the hunger of love
that everyone feels and we deny an understanding to another human being that is
acting his way for reasons we shouldn’t judge. In other words we block the love
of God that we can give to another person because we reject being his
instruments. We betray God doing as Peter did, denying him three times. I don’t
know that man, I don’t know love, I don’t know God.
The love of God is manifested in the love we feel for others. The maternal and
paternal affections that all human beings receive are an intimate expression of
the love of God.
God has created us with a need of love. Every person satisfies that need first
through the parents, then through matrimony. Couples express mutually the love
of God, they beget children and fill them with love and the will of God is
fulfilled in that way.
Love begins to fail in our own home; there are so many tense relationships
between husband and wife that end up in separation. There are so many broken
relationships between parents and children, between brothers and sisters and
In our daily life, separated from our parents or our family, we meet ourselves
the rest of our brothers where we are also supposed to express the love of God.
That is a very difficult terrain for the majority of us, but it is there that
God is calling us to obey his commandment “love one another as I have loved
We see then how lack of love moves us to criticism and then to contempt causing
destruction of family relationships, relations between friends, between bosses
and employees, between teachers and students, between groups confronting
different ideals and then between nations.
It doesn’t matter what attitude another person has against us, the love of God
in our hearts must understand, must be patient and must be merciful. Our good
attitude is the living gospel that we have to transmit to others.
When we find anger let’s practice patience and understanding as weapons that
pacify the tormented heart.
When we find rudeness let’s practice softness and the maternal tenderness of
love that softens the hardened heart.
When we find nervousness let’s practice the calm of love in our hearts, to
pacify the storm.
When we find rejection let’s practice the attitude that Christ taught us: let’s
love our enemies, let’s pray for them.
When we find hatred, let’s practice forgiveness, let’s not use fire to put out
fire, in silence let’s love with the love of God.
When we find sin let’s practice mercy which is the highest grade of love, let’s
remember that we are sinners, let’s not lift the first stone.
When we find pain let’s practice compassion and bring relief to those who
suffer, let’s bring the balsam of the love of God as medicine for suffering.
When we find ignorance let’s bring discretely and without pride the teaching of
God, let’s bring correction which is light to dissipate error.
When we find violence let’s bring the love of God invoking his power to calm
When we find treason let’s realize that Jesus was also betrayed and let’s pray
for that person that has failed the love of God.
When we find vice, corruption and evil let’s not judge. Let’s practice the love
of God that welcomes the prodigal son. Let’s pray for others so that their needs
may be heard up high.
When we find poverty let’s not ignore what we see, let’s not close our eyes,
let’s do something immediately, let’s practice charity and have a treasure in
When we find lamentation and hear the cries of those who suffer, let’s no close
our ears. Our indifference is to close our doors to the love of God. Let’s act
with immediate charity, with understanding without judgment.
To find God is to know how to interact with our neighbor. Let’s not wait for a
divine apparition, God is truly present in the needs of others. On the day of
judgment we will not be judged for our religiosity but for the love we had for
The Lord will tell us on final judgment pointing to our brothers: I was hungry
and you didn’t feed me, sick and you didn’t visit me, sad and you didn’t console
me, confused and you didn’t help me, wrong and you didn’t correct me, in sin and
you didn’t warn me, in need but you ignored me, lost and you didn’t find me, in
prison and you didn’t visit me, burdened but you didn’t help to carry my load,
needful of prayer but you didn’t pray for me.
But it is never too late. God calls us today to reflect upon love. When we love
and forgive, God is glorified.
Those souls who fill themselves with the love of God are the Light of the World,
as torches they illuminate the darkness of this world filled with sin, suffering
and contempt for God.
Let’s not ignore the call of God to love one another, let’s not impose
conditions to love, let’s not be obstacles of the spirit of divine love that is
calling us from the hearts of our brothers and sisters.
Joseph of Jesus and Mary
The Work of God Apostolate