I have a simple, hand-painted wooden sign that hangs above the table in my kitchen. It is robin's egg blue with curvy white lettering that reads, "Love God. Love People." It is a reminder to me of the greatest commandment of Jesus, but also what I want my life to be defined by. The words in today's Gospel remind me of that sign hanging in my apartment.
"Love one another as I love you," Jesus whispers. "There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:12-13).
The greatest definition of love I have come across is that love, real love, wills the good of the other. Simple, direct, and to the point.
We know what real love is when we look upon the crucified body of Jesus hanging on the Cross. So when He tells us to love as He did, He is calling us to "will" (or want) the good of the other as He did for us. To do this in daily life is selfless; it is a self-sacrificing love.
What would it look like to "will" the good of the other across the spectrum of our lives: workplace, marriage, friendship, dating relationship, friends, foes, or even for strangers?
The type of love Jesus speaks about today is radical and different. If we desire to become more like Jesus in our thoughts, words, and actions, then let us really live a life of love that truly wills the good of others in our normal, everyday life.
This summary of the papal encyclical Deus Caritas Est is brief but comprehensive.
Patty Breen is a full-time lay minister who finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, and all things Ignatian spirituality. A Midwestern gal from the mitten state, she is constantly learning to find grace in all things. She is passionate about ministry, writing, a great lipstick color, and smiling is her favorite. Find out more about her here.