Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God.
Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
And God showed His love for us by sending His only Son into the world, so that we might have life through Him.
This is what love is:
it is not that we have loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.
Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another.
No one has ever seen God,
but if we love one another, God lives in union with us,
and His love is made perfect in us.
We love because God first loved us.
If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars.
For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen,
if we do not love others, whom we have seen.
The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also.
– 1 John 4:7-12,19-21 (GNT)
REFLECTION…from Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical Letter “Deus Caritas Est” – God is Love.
Love of neighbour
is shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus.
It consists in the very fact that,
in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know.
This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God,
an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings.
Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings,
but from the perspective of Jesus Christ.
His friend is my friend.
Going beyond exterior appearances,
I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern….
Seeing with the eyes of Christ,
I can give to others much more than their outward necessities;
I can give them the look of love which they crave.
Here we see the necessary interplay between love of God and love of neighbour
which the First Letter of John speaks of with such insistence.
If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life,
then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other,
and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. […]
Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well.
Only if I serve my neighbour
can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much He loves me.
The saints – consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta –
constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord,
and conversely this encounter acquired its realism and depth in their service to others.
Love of God and love of neighbour are thus inseparable,
they form a single commandment.
But both live from the love of God who has loved us first.
No longer is it a question, then, of a “commandment” imposed from without and calling for the impossible,
but rather of a freely-bestowed experience of love from within,
a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others.
Love grows through love.
Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God;
through this unifying process it makes us a “we” which transcends our divisions and makes us one,
until in the end God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).
“Every enemy is a brother in the eyes of Christ. …
So we learn to look at the other, at our neighbour
not any more just with our eyes and with our good intentions,
but we look from the Cross, from the point of view of Jesus Christ.”
“The eyes of God, who loves all
giving to all what they need without distinction of any kind,
are Jesus’ eyes laid on this humanity through our own eyes.”
– Pope Francis
REPETITIVE PRAYER FOR TODAY…
Lord Jesus, help me look at others through Your eyes and not my own.
Help me have compassion for all others and to love like You love.