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Love Defined As Active Caring

We all know well the answer Jesus gave to the young man who asked him about the greatest commandment. Jesus said it is to love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength and, he added, your neighbor as yourself. Later he will say to us, “Love one another as I have loved you”. There can be no doubt that followers of the Lord must love one another. Unfortunately for us, the word love in our common parlance is often sentimentalized or used with different meanings. We say “I love ice cream” or “I love my puppy”. And then we say, “I love my children”. Obviously, the reality that the word love is pointing to in each of those cases is not exactly the same thing. When it comes to the reality that Christ is requiring of us, St. Augustine had a beautiful reflection. He asks “What does love look like?” And he answers, “Love has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of others. That’s what love looks like”. From this it is clear that for St. Augustine, Christian love involves actively taking care of one another, laying down our lives in service for one another, sacrificing for each other, especially those most in need. Love is not a sentiment or a feeling, it is active caring. That is what Christ did for us on the cross. May we live each day striving to live in imitation of the Lord who poured himself out for us, so may we do for one another.


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