“Choose Love” Sub-Pages:
Love God and Love Your Neighbor:
God is love and He loved us first. We are made in the image and likeness of God and called to imitate Him in love. Develop a good relationship with Him. When you work to put God first in your life, everything else starts to fall into the right place.
The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbor is emphasized. One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbor or hate him altogether. Saint John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God.
– Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est
Respond with Love:
Read this: Broken Things
Responding with love can be very demanding, but as parents we have many opportunities to practice this in little and big ways. This is important for our own health as well as that of our family. It also puts us in a better place to deal with the world and others we encounter.
Responding with love is supposed to be a defining characteristic of Christians. Good humor helps too. Mothers of large families are particularly susceptible to creating situations in which these responses are necessary. It doesn’t require a clever answer – and is often an occasion for humility (!) – and sarcasm doesn’t usually help (at least not without a heavy dose of good humor!). Naturally this doesn’t apply *only* to those grocery-store line questions about family size (though these can often be answered with a simple smile and “thank you”). It applies to people whose ideas or political views we disagree with. It applies to people who are being ugly to us! It applies to everyone!
Love is the greatest commandment, an extraordinary force (cf. Pope Benedict XVI), our best weapon against relativism (also Pope Benedict XVI) because it authenticates our belief system. It comes first for many reasons, but a very simple one to consider is that we should offer to others what they are ready for and they are always ready to be treated with love (cf Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta).
Don’t let politics or false dichotomies silence this critical, foundational aspect of our life as Christians.
Love Comes First:
Love comes first both because God is love and because everyone is ready to be treated with love, even if they’re not ready for something deeper or more complex – like philosophical proofs for the existence of God.
Church teaching confirms this in every age…
The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. – The Catechism of the Catholic Church #25, quoting The Catechism of the Council of Trent
Love authenticates our beliefs in the eyes of others – which makes it the most powerful weapon against relativism. Certainly more powerful than intellectual arguments. Just think of Mother Teresa!
The Gospel says: Hate the sin, love the sinner!
We are fallen and fight a common enemy (evil). Sympathy and love don’t require agreement. Love is essential!