Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The meaning of true love

Love is one of the words that is most widely preached and mentioned these days; at the same time, it is the word that is mostly misunderstood. Every preacher today shout love as the climax of God's expectation from us. What then does it take to love God? By giving us love as the summary of all the commandments, what does God expect from us? Jesus said: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as your self. On these two commandments hang the whole law, and the prophets too” (Matt. 22:37-40). An important lesson here is that love of God is the key that opens the door for all the graces needed to attain perfection. We must always bear this in mind: the amount of love that one has for someone or something is measured by the amount of sacrifice he offers for what he loved. And a pure sacrifice as we know is always painful to the flesh. Jesus gave us the guide line to understand this fact clearly:- “for God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but may have life everlasting” (Jn.3:16.) God gave His Son who is co-equal with Him in glory to come and share in our nature: eat, drink and work as we do so as to confer merit to all aspects of our life. When Jesus was about to accomplish this work fully, at the Gethsemane garden, He saw all He was about to suffer for poor mortals: insults, rejection, condemnation, hatred, denial, abandonment, scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying the cross and crucifixion. At the same time, He saw all the ingratitude and neglect with which we are to pay Him for the love He has shown to us; He sweated blood. Nevertheless, because of the love He has for His Father and His beloved ones, He accepted to suffer for poor ungrateful mortals so as to recover His Father's heritage: “that the world will know that I love the Father” (Jn. 14:31)

We cannot say that we love God, if we are not very fearful to the things that offend Him (cf. 1Jn. 5:3). Jesus stated it clearly: “whoever holds to My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me, and whoever loves Me will be loved by My Father. Anyone who does not love Me, does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not My own: it is the word of the Father who sent Me” (Jn. 14:21-24). We know that it cost much sacrifices to keep Gods commandments, those things we sacrifice in order to obey Him are the signs of our love for Him; they are the measure of the depth of the love we have for Him. Even if a superior or the public authority issue a command contrary to God's commandments; we are called to say with St. Peter: “We must obey God rather than man” (cf. Acts 4:19).

The Holy Scriptures say: “yes, naturally stupid are all who are unaware of God, and who, from good things seen, have not been able to discover Him, Who is or by studying the works, have not recognized the Artificer. If, charmed by their beauty, they have taken these for gods, let them know how much the master of these excels them, since He was the very source of beauty that created them” (Wis.13:1-5 ). Indeed, miserable fools are those who embraces the good things of this world; and forget to ponder how infinitely good is the one who created them, and the more perfect reward He promised to those who loved Him in this world (cf. 1 Jn.3:2, Jn.14:2-3). All the good things and pleasures that we see in this world: riches, positions of authority, honours, foods and drinks, pleasures of the flesh etc. were created by God with the word of His mouth; He allowed His servant, Solomon to taste all these pleasures to the best of his ability, and he finally gave us a lesson that they are all vanities, and futility, chasing after the wind (cf.Eccl.2). Meanwhile, God allows us to be tested with these things so that we may wisely chose Him, who is the source of infinite goodness and joy; the real happiness that last forever. That is why keeping Gods commandments demands contempt of the world, mortification of the flesh, love of poverty, love of the cross etc. with these weapons, we can fight to contempt all that the world will offer in opposition to Gods commandments.

Here Are The Ten Commandments As Explained By The Holy Roman Catholic Church

I. I AM the Lord thy God: Thou shall not have strange gods before Me.
COMMANDS: faith, hope, love, and worship of God, reverence for Holy things; prayer.
FORBIDS: idolatry, superstition, spiritism, tempting God, sacrilege, attendance at false worship

ii. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
COMMANDS: reverence in speaking about God and holy things; the keeping of oaths and vows.
FORBIDS: blasphemy, the irreverent use of God's name, speaking disrespectfully of holy things, false oaths and breaking of vows

iii. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
COMMANDS: going to Church on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and abstaining from servile work.
FORBIDS: Missing Sunday Mass through one's own fault, unnecessary servile work, public buying and selling; court trials.

iv. Honour thy father and mother
COMMANDS: Love, respect, obedience on the part of children; care on the part of parents for the spiritual and temporal welfare of their children; obedience to civil and religious superiors.
FORBIDS: hatred of parents and superiors; disrespect, disobedience

v. Thou shall not kill
COMMANDS: safeguarding of one's own life and bodily welfare and that of others
FORBIDS: unjust killing, suicide, abortion, sterilization, dueling, endangering life of self or others

vi. Thou shall not commit adultery
COMMANDS: Chastity in thought, word and deed.
FORBIDS: obscene speech, impure actions alone or with others

vii. Thou shall not steal
COMMANDS: respect for the property and rights of others; the paying of just debts; paying just wages to employees; integrity in public officials.
FORBIDS: theft; damage to the property of others; not returning found or borrowed articles; giving unjust measure or weight in selling; not paying just wages; bribery; graft; cheating; fraud; accepting stolen property; not giving an honest day's work for wages received; violation of contract.

viii. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour
COMMANDS: truthfulness, respect for the good name of others; the observance of secrecy when required.
FORBIDS: lying, injury to the good name of others, slander, talebearing, rash judgment, contemptuous speech, and the violation of secrecy.

ix. Thou shall not covet thy neighbours wife
COMMANDS: Purity in thought.
FORBIDS: willful impure thoughts and desires

x. Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's goods.
COMMANDS: respect for the right of others.
FORBIDS: the desire to take, to keep, or to damage the property of other