Living the Gospel – November 4, 2018

Home > Living the Gospel > Living the Gospel – November 4, 2018

Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
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

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

These two commandments, glimpses of which are found in nearly all religious traditions, share timeless and universal wisdom. Sometimes we think that religion is all a matter of how we behave, how we worship, how active we are in social justice programs, etc. – and those are important. But I’ve been thinking – it’s not simply a matter of our behavior. It’s a matter of the heart.

Thoughtful, socially active Catholics sometimes wonder if they are motivated by a desire for recognition or praise or a way to bargain with God. I’m certain that’s not the situation. It’s a matter of love. For example, the Congregation of St. Joseph of Carondelet (think of Sr. Laura Bufano and Sr. Kathleen Heffron,) is known as the “Congregation of the Great Love of God.” They share their charism with laity in an Associate program that brings reconciliation and love to the world…as we say, to our “dear neighbors.” Our dear neighbors, of course – the Neighbors of the second commandment – are everywhere. They are our family, our community, everyone, really – including people we dislike and those who hate us.

I have personally seen that love conquers hatred, evil and pain…it brings peace to the frightened, comforts the ill and lost and heals those who despair. This, in my mind, happens when we allow God to work within us and transform our natural self-centeredness into a love that has no boundaries…it brings amazing peace and, thanks be to God, opens our eyes to the beauty within others, as well as God’s generous gifts to us.

Blessings and peace,

Dorothy Hathway, CSJA

I think that we’re all aware that sometimes we do very well in following them – and sometimes we don’t.