Friday, March 28, 2014
God First Loved Us
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." - Mark 12:28-30
What does it truly mean to love God with all of one's heart, soul, mind, and strength? Often it is said that this verse means to put God before everything else in life. This perspective sounds appealing, but then again, do we do this? Do we reflect daily on how we might better love God before all else? Do we learn from our failures so as to help us to grow and do better? What are the obstacles that prevent us from loving God above everything else?
My brothers and sisters, as much as it is important to reflect on how we can better love God, this cannot be the starting point. “Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere “command”; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us” (Pope Benedict XVI). The starting point is always God, not us!
By focusing first on God and God’s free gift of love, we move away from the negative and turn to the positive. Often times our days are so filled with looking at failures and imperfections that we become easily frustrated and discouraged. It then becomes increasingly difficult to respond with love. We may do it for a while out of mere obligation, but soon it may altogether come to an end. Why? The focus becomes us rather then God! Thus, we see only the impossible rather than the possible.
For love is not focused on all that is wrong, but concentrates on what is right and allows for that which is good to be nourished and take root! Fidelity helps us to stay the course and to remember the who and the why!
So take your eyes off yourself and place your gaze upon God! Begin each day by seeking God's presence, power, blessing, and love! When you willingly accept God’s perfect love for you, God will transform your doubt into faith, weakness into strength, failure into victory, and sin into new life!
“God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful." –Blessed Mother Teresa