Tag Archives: Greatest Commandment of all

Sunday Devotional: No servant can serve two masters

Luke 16:10-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Mammon from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (1818), a book on demonology

Mammon in Hebrew (ממון) means “money”. In the New Testament, however, mammon does not mean just money, but is associated with the greedy pursuit of profit and gain. For Christians, mammon is a pejorative, a term used to describe gluttony, excessive materialism, greed, and unjust worldly gain.

In the Middle Ages, mammon was often personified as a deity and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell; St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – c. 395) asserted that Mammon was another name for Beelzebub. During the generation of 1880-1925, American populists used “Mammon” with specific reference to the consolidated wealth and power of the banking and corporate institutions headquartered on Wall Street and their predacious activities nationwide. In contemporary pop culture today, various characters and demons are named Mammon in books, film, TV, anime, and video games.

While Jesus our Lord instructs us in Luke 16:13 that “You cannot serve God and mammon,” His injunction goes beyond mammon, the greedy and unjust pursuit of money, to include any and all ungodly obsessive pursuits and preoccupations because “No servant can serve two masters.”

And so, Luke 16:13 can be generalized to mean “You cannot serve God and your self,” for any one and any thing that we price more than God is a violation of the First Commandment (“I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me”) and of the Greatest Commandment of all — to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.

Always remember this is what He did for us:

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: Whoever loves me will keep my word

John 14:23-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Today, the universal Church celebrates the 6th Sunday of Easter — the Sunday before the Ascension of our Lord.

In the above Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus prepares the disciples for His imminent departure, but reassures them — and us — that His physical departure does not mean we are abandoned.

To begin, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Triune Godhead, would be sent to instruct, guide and actually dwell inside us. How amazing and cool is that!

Next, with His usual incisiveness and sweeping aside all the dizzying minutiae of Talmudic-Judaic laws and prescriptions, Jesus imparts to us a simple formula for how we are to be His faithful followers:

Whoever loves me will keep my word

And what is His word?

It really is as simple and profound as that.

For if we truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, then we also are faithful to the Ten Commandments because the ten follow the one, logically and naturally.

And if we do that — if we love Him not with empty words, but with our actions by following His word — then we will have peace and not be troubled or afraid.

All of which would explain why study after study testifies to the beneficent effects of being a true and faithful follower of Christ. See:

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: A new commandment

John 13:1, 31, 33-35

Before the feast of Passover,
Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world
and he loved them to the end.

When he [Judas] had left, Jesus said,
“…My children,
I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me,
and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’
so now I say it to you.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

A new commandment: “Love one another”.

With those three words, Jesus swept aside all the strictures and legal minutiae of Judaism, including six of the Ten Commandments. For if you think about it, if we truly “love one another,” we would:

  • Honor our fathers and mothers (5th Commandment).
  • Not kill or murder (6th Commandment).
  • Not commit adultery (7th Commandment).
  • Not steal (8th Commandment).
  • Not bear false witness against our neighbor (9th Commandment).
  • Not covet our neighbor’s wife/husband or anything that belongs to another (10th Commandment).

But what is love?

In our corrupt times, the word “love” is used to justify any or all deeds, even the most perverse. Pedophilia is called “man-boy love”; bestiality is called “zoophilia” — love of animals; incest is given a veneer of faux science by calling it “genetic sexual attraction”.

“Love” has become a synonym of the Church of Satan’s motto, “Do as thou wilt”.

So what is love?

Here are some clues from Holy Scripture.

(1) Love is selfless and self-sacrificing

1 John 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Few of us will be called to die for someone else, but many have and do sacrifice for others: parents for their children; adult children for their elderly parents; care-givers for the elderly and sick; all who give their money, time and labor for another or a good cause, with no benefit to themselves.

So this is one measure of love: How much will you sacrifice for another?

(2) Other attributes of love

From the famous passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

(3) The way to God is through the heart, not the mind

Reading St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, I was struck by the rest of the passage:

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

I understand the above passage as St. Paul’s reminder to us that, in the end, the way to God cannot be accomplished through our mind alone — our efforts to know and understand God, the unimaginably awesome being who created the Universe. As St. Paul reminds us: “for we know partially”. How can the created ever fully know the Creator?

The great St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the philosopher-theologian who wrote tomes of impeccable logic and reasoning, but lived only to the young age of 49, knew well the limits of human intelligence and how “partially” we know.

On December 6, 1273, St. Thomas had a mystical experience while he was celebrating Mass, after which he abandoned his scholarly routine and refused to write again. When his friend and fellow theologian Reginald of Piperno begged him to get back to work, St. Thomas replied:

“Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me” (mihi videtur ut palea).

Three months later, on March 7, 1274, St. Thomas passed, leaving the Summa Theologica uncompleted.

There’s a reason why the Greatest Commandment of all begins not with our minds, but with our hearts.

May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: WWG1WGA

Mark 12:28B-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
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.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.’
And ‘to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself’
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Throughout the three years of Christ Jesus’ public ministry on Earth, the Hebrew élites of scribes, rabbis and priests (especially Pharisees) continuously doubted, probed, and tested Him with questions that were meant to trick and entrap. The above passage from Mark 12 was such an instance, as is Matthew 22 which chronicles another test when the Pharisees asked Jesus “which is the great commandment in the law?”.

In both instances, Jesus answered that the first and greatest of all God’s commandments is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

As Mark 12 recounts, afterwards no one among the Hebrew scribes dared ask Jesus any more questions because they knew He is incontestible, and that Moses himself had said the same thing in Deutoronomy 6:2-6:

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“Fear the LORD, your God,
and keep, throughout the days of your lives,
all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you,
and thus have long life.
Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them,
that you may grow and prosper the more,
in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers,
to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength.
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”

With unassailable reasoning and crystal clarity, our Lord clears away the thicket of Judaic laws and rules that had accumulated and encrusted through the centuries by getting to the heart of the matter.

Think about it: If we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with every ounce of our strength, then we would obey and be true to His other laws and commandments for the simple reason that we love Him.

The Ten (Commandments) follow the One (Greatest Commandment), logically and naturally.

To borrow a current motto: WWG1WGA!

See also the opposite of the Greatest Commandment of all, “Sunday Devotional: Narcissism, the first and greatest sin“, and this post on why Jews don’t believe in Jesus the Christ.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Éowyn

Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: Whoever wishes to come after me must deny yourself

Mark 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself”.

The above reading from Mark 8 wasn’t the only time when Jesus warned us about narcissism — the excessive love of self that expresses itself as selfishness, self-preoccupation, entitlement, and pride. In Mark 9:33-35, too, chastising the Apostles who were arguing who among them was the greatest, our Lord said in no uncertain terms:

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

The late author Christopher Lasch, in The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations, maintained that narcissism is the disorder of our time. Indeed, the decade of the 1990s is given the sobriquet of the “Me Decade.”

Some are of the opinion that contemporary Western culture itself is narcissistic:

  • Psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons observed that the “predominant character weakness in our culture is that of selfishness”.
  • James F. Masterson, M.D., described American society as “signifying the virtual apotheosis of the interested self.”
  • Psychiatrist Alexander Lowen, in Narcissism: Denial of the True Self, said that in his forty years as a therapist, he (and others in the psychological profession ) had seen a marked change in the personality problems of those who came to him for consultation. Instead of the neurotic guilts, anxieties, phobias, and obsessions of earlier times, Lowen increasingly encountered narcissistic individuals saddled with depression, a lack of feeling, an inner emptiness, and a deep sense of frustration and unfulfillment.

Narcissism being “the disorder of our time” is due in no small measure to the increasing secularization, irreligiosity, and outright satanism of contemporary culture. As Fr. Juan José Gallego, the exorcist for the archdiocese of Barcelona, Spain, explains, the Devil’s favorite sin is pride.

See “Satanism as a new political movement in America” and “Satanism is now a cool thing in California, esp. Hollywood“.

C.S. Lewis, too, called pride “the great sin” and wrote that “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

Like all narcissists, Lucifer’s choice to love himself more than God only condemns himself to misery. As poet John Milton so perfectly captured the fallen angel’s eternal misery in Paradise Lost:

Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell.

And what’s the antidote to narcissism?

Once again, Jesus had already given us the answer:

To love God with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole soul, and with all our strength.

May the peace and love of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ be with you this glorious Sunday,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: The radical departure from Judaism

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

The word “covenant” means a binding agreement; a compact; a contract.

Jesus, again and again, said that He came to make a new covenant:

“This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my Blood,
which will be shed for you.” –Luke 22:20

St. Paul, who was a Pharisee — a member of the ancient Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic law — further emphasized in Hebrew 8:13 that:

In speaking of a new covenant,
He makes the first one obsolete.

The above passage from Mark 7 makes clear that, in making a new covenant, Jesus is a radical departure from Judaism, which had become mouldy and encrusted with the writings and sayings of men (rabbis) — torturous instructions on dietary laws (Kashrut), personal hygiene, and day-to-day life, much like the Koran. Collectively known as the Talmud, those writings and sayings of men came to (and still do) supersede the Torah (Christians’ Old Testament) in importance.

But with a few chosen words, Jesus sweeps aside the minutiae of the Talmud and gets to the gravamen of the matter: It is what is in our hearts that counts, not meticulous observations of dietary dos and don’ts.

To do otherwise — to cling to “human precepts” and outward shows of dos and don’ts, while our hearts are evil — is to be hypocrites. And for being called out the pretentious hypocrites that they were, the Pharisees would nurse their hatred and malice, until they had their revenge at last on Golgotha.

Jesus, I love you with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: An Ode to the Creator

Psalm 139:13-16, 17-18, 1-10

You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.
My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me unformed;
in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped, before one came to be.

How precious to me are your designs, O God;
how vast the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the sands . . . .

25

LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
You sift through my travels and my rest;
with all my ways you are familiar.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
LORD, you know it all.
Behind and before you encircle me
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
far too lofty for me to reach.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence, where can I flee?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;
if I lie down in Sheol, there you are.
If I take the wings of dawn
and dwell beyond the sea,
Even there your hand guides me,
your right hand holds me fast.


And to think this awesome Creator loves us, you and me, every one of us.
He loves us so much that He humbled Himself by becoming flesh, endured unimaginable torture, to willingly die for our redemption.

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I love you with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.
May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,
~Eowyn
See also “Stunning new study found human and all animal species today originated only 100,000 to 200,000 years ago“.

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him

Mark 1:21-28

Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Jesus cast out demons
Only one of the following three can be true:

  1. The author of the Gospel of Mark was lying.
  2. Jesus was delusional in believing there are demons and that He has the ability to cast out demons.
  3. Mark was telling the truth — Jesus did drive out demons. That makes any priest or minister who refuses to address this subject a coward at best or, at worst, a liar by omission.

“The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist. (La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas.)” -Charles Baudelaire, Le Joueur généreux, 1864.
The pusillanimous avoidance of all mention of devil, demons, and Hell by too many priests and ministers may account for why Americans increasingly no longer believe in the Devil.
A 2013 Harris Poll found that although a majority (74%) of U.S. adults still said they believed in God, that’s down from the 82% in earlier years. Nearly one-fourth of Americans (23%) identified themselves as “not at all” religious, nearly double the 12% of six years ago in 2007. Belief in miracles, Heaven and other religious teachings also declined, including:

  • 68% believed that Jesus is God or the Son of God, down from 72%;
  • 65% believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, down from 70%;
  • Only 58% (fewer than 6 out of every 10 Americans) believed in the devil and Hell, down from 62%.

How curious it is that while 68% believed that Jesus is God, only 58% believed in the devil, which would imply that those 10% think our Lord Jesus Christ was lying or hallucinating when He exorcised demons in Gospel passages like Mark 1:21-28. And these are Christians!
How can we armor ourselves against the Devil if we don’t even believe he exists? No wonder Americans increasingly are debauched and depraved. Increasingly, Satanism is a cool thing. See:

The real irony is, as recounted in Mark 1:21-28, the Devil and other demons most certainly believe in and fear Christ our Lord:

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

In fact, we know from countless first-person testimonies that just invoking the name of Jesus Christ repels demons. And did you know that Richard Gallagher, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and a professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College, says demonic possession is real?
What’s the best defense against the Devil and demonic possession?

Put on the armor of God; keep pure your body, mind, and soul; and be true to the First and Greatest Commandment of All (Mark 12:30):

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Jesus, I trust in You!
~Éowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Sunday Devotional: Who are our 'neighbors' and our 'enemies'? How are we to 'love' them?

In Matthew 22:36-39, a Pharisee asked Jesus, “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?”

Jesus said to him, “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 neighbor as yourself.

More than 14 years ago, after a journey that took some 10 years, I returned to Him. Since my coming home, I can honestly say I have loved the Lord, my God, with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.

But, knowing all the foibles of fallen humanity — foibles of which I amply partake — and the darkness of the human heart, I have not been able to “love my neighbor as myself.” Knowing my own wretchedness, I don’t even love myself with my whole heart, my whole mind, and my whole soul!

To love my neighbor as myself is difficult enough. But in Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus tells us we must do even more:

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The above passages from Matthew 22 and Matthew 5 leave us with these questions:

  • Who are my “neighbors”?
  • What does “loving” my neighbors mean?
  • Who are my “enemies”?
  • What does “loving” my enemies mean?

Alas, most priests, if not all of the priests whom I’ve heard, don’t define or explain those terms — which is puzzling because the answers are given, of course, by Christ Himself.

In Luke 10:29-37, in response to the question “And who is my neighbor”, our Lord replied with the parable of the good Samaritan:

“A man fell victim to robbers as he went down to Jerusalem from Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Note that Jesus did not identify the robbers as our “neighbors”. Our “neighbor” is the man who “fell victim to robbers” who himself had done no wrong.
In Leviticus 19:17-18, it is said:

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

And so, Luke 10 and Leviticus 19 give us the definitions we need:

  1. From Luke 10’s parable of the good Samaritan, we learn that our “neighbor” is anyone we encounter in our lives, even strangers, who find themselves in foul circumstances through no fault of their own.
  2. From the parable of the good Samaritan, we learn that to “love our neighbor” means to treat those who are in need “with mercy,” that is, with kindness and compassion, and to provide assistance.
  3. But the “neighbor” in the parable of the good Samaritan was a man who fell victim to robbers through no fault of his own. What about people who find themselves in foul circumstances through their own fault? This is where “love your enemies” comes in.
  4. Our “enemies,” therefore, differ from our “neighbors” in that “enemies” are those who knowingly do wrong.
  5. That, in turn, implies that, unlike our neighbors, we are not to treat our enemies — those who knowingly do wrong — with mercy, kindness, compassion, and assistance.
  6. But we must still “love our enemies”. So how are we to love our enemies? As Leviticus 19:17-18 instructs, to love our enemies means that:
    1. We “rebuke” them: Rebuke is defined as “to criticize sharply“.
    2. We bear no hatred for them in our hearts.
    3. We do not seek revenge: Revenge is not the same as to mete out justice — revenge is defined as retaliation in kind or degree; to mete out justice is defined as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments”. (Just is defined as “morally upright or good”.) Unlike the impartial meting out of justice, “revenge” has an emotional component, which is where “hatred” comes in.
    4. We do not bear a grudge: Once justice is rendered, we let it go.
    5. We pray for them — that they repent and return to God.

Recognizing the above definitions, to “love” our “neighbors” and our “enemies” is a task that is neither simple nor easy. When we falter, just remember this:
Jesus loves us this much
Offered in humility and love,
~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Valentine's Day and the meaning of true love

Today is Valentine’s Day — the day when TV commercials nag men to buy roses, candy, and jewelry for their wives or girl friends.
But did you know that the day is named after a real person, St. Valentine?
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of February 14th. But the man for whom Valentine’s Day is named most likely was a priest at Rome who, in the second half of the 3rd century, was arrested and killed by the Emperor Claudius for secretly marrying Christian couples during a time of persecution in the Church. Legend has it that while he was imprisoned and waiting for his martyrdom, he sent letters to his fellow Christians signing them, “From Your Valentine.” (See joandarc’s post, “St. Valentine“)
The popular customs associated with Valentine’s Day probably came from a conventional belief in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens. [Source: Catholic Encyclopedia]
So what is love?
I can find no better definition and description of true love than the words of St. Paul:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
It is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

And here’s the true meaning of Valentine’s Day:
God's Valentine to us John 3-16
The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole soul, and with all your strength; and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
May the love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today!
~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0