The final commandment from today’s first reading: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” St. Augustine says more: “Love, and do what you want.” Really? As long as you love, you can do whatever you want? Well, yes. But loving isn’t that simple. The command to love doesn’t just mean be polite. It means every action we take, every word we speak, must be out of love. Any compliment, any chastisement is because of love. Moreover, every action we don’t take and every word we don’t say must be out of love. If I hold my tongue, is it out of love? When I ignore someone, is that out of love (see today’s Gospel)?
One of my reflections for Lent is to examine how I allow love to influence my actions. Each night I review what happened that day. Was what I did and did not do today due to love? Was what I said and did not say today due to love? How can I allow my actions to be better founded upon love tomorrow? If I can truly love, then I can do whatever I want, because the only thing I will want to do will be to love.
God is love. If I am not willing to love my brothers and sisters and allow love to be the reason for every action I do and don’t take, then how can I possibly expect to love God? Only through a pure love toward my brothers and sisters will I come to know and love God.