"Any other [commandments] there may be are all summed up in this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' " —Romans 13:9
If we would only love our neighbor as ourselves, we would fulfill the law, and the whole world would be transformed. I once heard a pastor say just the opposite. He said that the trouble with this world was that people did love their neighbors as themselves. They hated themselves and treated their neighbors accordingly. In our society, where we have an epidemic of self-hatred, loving our neighbor as ourselves can be one of the worst things we can do.
This explains why loving our neighbor as ourselves is the second commandment. We must first love the Lord with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds, and all our strength (Mt 22:37). Only when we respond to the Lord's love with a commitment to love Him totally can we love ourselves. Only when we lose our lives in total surrender to Jesus do we find a healthy self-love (see Lk 9:24). Then as we love our neighbors as ourselves, we don't hate or hurt them, but cherish and respect them.
The key to loving our neighbors is loving ourselves. The key to loving ourselves is denying ourselves and totally loving the Lord. Love God Who is Love (1 Jn 4:16). Love Love.
Prayer: Father, we love because You first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). You gave Your Son to die for us (Jn 3:16). I decide to deny myself and love You totally.
Promise: "None of you can be My disciple if he does not renounce all his possessions." —Lk 14:33
Praise: St. Charles was a doctor of law at age 21, an archbishop at age 22, and a hero during the plague at age 37.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Divine Love on audio AV 52-3 or video V-52.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 3, 2009
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