We are all invited to be part of the world’s greatest love story. God’s ultimate desire is for us to become one with His complete and perfect love. And if we say “yes,” our souls will be filled and our lives will be free. If we love Him with all we have and in several dimensions, the more capacity we will have to love others as well. And the closer we are to Heaven on earth.
In fact, God knows that living out our love for Him is so critical to our fulfillment, that He commands it. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus says:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.
What Does This Mean?
In order to fully comprehend and live this commandment, we first must know what it means to love God with our hearts, souls, and minds. Let’s break it down.
Loving God with All Your Heart
Loving God with your heart means to love Him with your life. Right here. Right now. The average human heart beats for 79 years. Love God with your heart by living a loving, faith-filled, and purpose-driven life. This requires letting God lead the way. It means living each day in close connection with Him so we can recognize our calling.
Once I started to actually do this, to let Him lead, my life changed. Filled with joy and passion for our Faith, sharing that joy with others and loving God with my whole heart became my primary mission.
Loving God with All Your Soul
Loving God with your soul means to love Him for eternity. When our hearts stop beating, our souls keep living. And God wants our relationship with Him to last forever.
Once, I struggled with trying to love Jesus in the same way He loves me. In an effort to deepen my friendship with Him, I completely changed the way I approached the Eucharist. Typically, after receiving Communion, I prayed a nearly-memorized prayer of thanksgiving, and then asked for guidance in various areas of my life. It was rehearsed and impersonal.
And so, on a random Sunday in November, I did something different. At the moment of the consecration, I mindfully envisioned Jesus actually sitting on the steps in front of the altar, smiling, reaching out, and beckoning me to come closer. Once I received the Body and Blood of Christ, I closed my eyes and imagined myself sitting on those steps right next to Him. I could feel Him next to me and I spoke to Him from my heart. Jesus was there. Right by my side. And He was listening.
And that was it. I was His. Completely devoted, captivated by His love. The Eucharist strengthened my friendship with Christ, which then naturally led to a soulful love and adoration of the Lord.
Loving God with All Your Mind
Loving God with your mind means to love Him unconditionally–because we know that He is worthy of love–even when we don’t feel like it. Even when we feel like life is unfair or when we think He’s abandoned us (even though He never leaves our side). It’s hard to love someone you know nothing about, so it’s important to make an effort to get to know God. By spending time in prayer, reading Scripture, attending Mass, and pondering His teachings, we learn about who He is, what He cares about, and why He is so deserving of our love. God sent His only Son to die for us. He forgives us. He knows all of our faults and still loves us with an everlasting and relentless love.
This dimension of love is especially important for the times when we are feeling unenthused, discouraged, hopeless, or just plain sad. When we love God with our minds, we solidify our relationship with Him on an intellectual level. This level can weather the fiercest of storms.
As followers of Christ, we are called to fearlessly love God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds. Fueled with that complete and perfect love, we are empowered to take that love and share it with the world. And our broken, lost world desperately needs His love.
How do you grow in loving God with your heart, soul, and mind? Let us know in the comments!
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Stacy Miller is a joyfully inept stay-at-home-mom of two who makes up for her shortcomings with her fiery love and passion. She lives in Reno, Nevada, where she is amazed by the people she’s met, the beauty in the skies, and the endless opportunities for adventure. You can learn more about her here.