If you will be asked to leave this world now, what are the two most important things that you will bring with you? Perhaps, it would be a cellphone and a WIFI connection, or maybe a laptop and a charger or maybe, a passport and vaccination card. It may be the most important because it is the most common thing nowadays, or maybe because it is required of one’s work or career, or maybe because one may think that these are what gives meaning to her/his life. Whatever it is, without it, there may be some inconvenience and some insufficiency in our lives that we cannot contain.
Jesus was asked, what was the most important, the foremost, the first of all the commandments. His answer was plain and simple. Love. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk 12:30-31) He presented these two as if one is not possible without the other. It was not because the first is above the second, but simply because without the first, the second cannot exist. It is from where all true love flows. Similarly, Francisco Palau believed that God and neighbor is one Beloved Object, “una Cosa Amada”, from where all energies, passions, affections, meaning, and depth must stream. He says in his diary, My Relations with the Church, “Looking at the Head, I see the whole Body in it; and in His Body and Head, one sole entity and reality which is the Church… If you believe in me, never look at the Head separated from the Body… yes, in truth there is no such separation, split or division…” (MR 4:22,28).
It is very easy to express and to manifest our love for God if it was plain God. Spend time in prayer, attend Mass, receive the sacraments, do penance, and give alms. It is very easy because He does not hurt, does not meddle, does not disappoint, but “only” listen, love, and understands. Jesus manifested the greatness of this commandment himself. But it was not all. Jesus wants that our love for God be transformed in our love for our neighbor. This neighbor can be our parents, children, community, sisters, friends, in-laws, government officials, world leaders, etc. Who are most often than not, are more difficult to approach, to please, to understand, to listen to, and to love. Yet, as true Christians we must see the Body of Christ in them. The Body is often broken and wounded, persecuted and mocked, abandoned and despised. They are the Church and we are called to look at them with the eyes of God who dreams that its beauty is restored.
Maybe, the most important thing you will bring with you is a cellphone. Not a bad choice basically because everything is just there. But a cellphone is simply not enough. You’ll need a charger and a good internet connection to experience its full advantage. Yes, they cannot be separated, they can never be complete, they can never be in their fullness without the other. Love of God and love of neighbor is the ultimate object of your love. (MR 12,2)
Sr. Chrezann M. Angulo, CMT