Loving God by loving others

WE sometimes wonder how we can truly know and love God who is so supernatural and mysterious as to make us doubt whether we can have that possibility. We should wonder no more, because no matter how hard and apparently impossible that endeavor may be, all we have to do is to know and love our neighbor.

Let’s always have recourse to what St. John said in his first letter: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And we have this commandment from him: whoever loves God must love his brother as well…” (4,20-21)

Said in another way, if we want God to love us, all we have to do is to love our neighbor. In this we have these words of Christ himself: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Lk 6,36-38)

Thus, when Christ was asked what the greatest commandment was, he readily said it was to love God with everything that we have got, and without being asked what the second greatest commandment was, he volunteered to say it—that it was to love your neighbor as yourself. (cfr. Mt 22,36-40)

As we can see, loving God and loving others always go together. We cannot have one without the other. The immediate corollary we can derive from this consideration is that we do not have to wait for some special occasions, some special reasons or persons to show our love for God.

Every moment, every person, every situation, no matter how ordinary and plain they may be, is a moment to show our love for God. The moment we start to be nice to others, we are already starting to be nice with God, and thus loving him.

This realization should console us and calm down our anxiety that may spring from the mistaken belief that knowing and loving God will always demand heroic and extraordinary efforts. Of course, while it is true that some extraordinary effort can also be asked of us in this regard, we should not forget that the usual way of knowing and loving God is simply by taking care of our basic duties towards others.

In other words, it is always possible that we can be with God at every moment of the day as long as we realize that everything can be an occasion to know and love God by knowing and loving others. We should not mind so much the mystery and the supernatural things involved in this duty. If God chooses to hide them from us, we should just be contented. If he reveals them to us, with their corresponding demands, then with his grace let us try to respond accordingly.

In this, let us also remember that if we want God to be very generous with us, let us also be generous with the others by giving and helping them more than what we think they deserve. Remember Christ’s words, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Let’s remember that God cannot be outdone in generosity.

We can revise the golden rule a little. Instead of just saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” we can say, “Do unto others as you would have God do unto you.” That way we can establish a certain closeness with God since we will always be close, at least physically, with the others. God will never be far from us nor will he be an abstract notion to us only!

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com