"It is with love that God rewards us..." Ste. Therese of Lisieux
Our poor country and world is dying because it refuses to love. For the Christian, love is the second greatest commandment; in fact, it flows from the first. The young man was asked by Jesus about the Law, and he answered correctly: "love the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment. The second is like it, love your neighbour as yourself". (Mt 22: 27-29). Yet, who is our neighbour? Better yet: who is my neighbour?
The Law of Love, was incarnate in Our Lord, and taught by the Beloved Disciple. St. John warns us: " he that hateth his brother, walks in darkness..." (1 Jn 2:11). Our country, our world, our cities, even our homes are in darkness. Why? Because too many, far, far too many hate their brother. For example, when a married couple use contraception, they hate each other. Sins of the flesh, promoted by a culture of death as "love", are actually acts of hate; hatred of God, of self and any cooperator in sin. The worst bitter fruit of this perversion of love, is the horror of abortion.
Our neighbours are not only those who are our "friends", or those who "agree" with us, but also those who misguidedly hate us, even hate Our Lord. Can we love them? Can I love them? If I cannot, I shall not be saved. We must love those who hate us, it is a commandment of Our Lord. Is it hard? Humanly speaking, yes; for true love requires Grace. If we are open to His Grace we will be able to love, and true love, casts out fear. We are, I am, also afraid to love. "Amor meus, pondus meum" - my love weighs me down, wrote St. Augustine. But it is a sweet yoke, true love is liberating: 'For my yoke is easy, and my burden light". (Matthew 11:30).
The question will arise, how do we know we love God? St. Teresa of Avila reminds us: we can see the degree of love, by how we love our neighbour....." And Jesus looking on him, loved him..." (Mark 10:21). "...that while thou art in me, I may be in them, and so they may be perfectly made one" (Jn 17:23). "And this is love, that we walk after his commandment" (2 Jn 1:6).