More than praying

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Love of God; Love of neighbor–the two Greatest Commandments and really the only two commandments. Of the Decalog, the Ten Commandments given to Moses, the first three tell us how we are to love God, the last seven tell us how we are to love our neighbor. And throughout the Gospels Christ tells us that we serve God by loving our neighbor.

One of my favorite quotes is “that we don’t choose God. He chooses us!” Think about that for a moment. Really THINK….God chose me! God chose you! We are His very children.

I have made a new friend since I’ve started working in another department at the hospital. She is my age and we seem to have much in common. We went out to dinner last month for the first time. Our conversation drifted from family, to work, and finally to books. She had just read “Heaven is for Real” and it just touched her heart so much. She just went on with such enthusiasm: “I can’t even fathom how much God loves us. That He made us to be His own, that we are such imperfect human beings and yet He loves us anyway. He is just the most forgiving God that I find it hard to take in!” And this woman is a Roman Catholic!!! How many of us would start such a conversation with someone the first time we went out to dinner!?

In a way, she confirms my faith. I know that, but how affirming it is to hear another say it in such a social situation. It affirms my faith by taking that love from my brain which knows it, to my heart which feels it… my heart which wants to respond to it. It makes me want to love Him more, praise His awesomeness: I want to respect Him in my language, and in my actions and I want to praise Him in my words… my prayer and most of all in the Mass. It makes me want to adore Him!

But one cannot pray 24/7….or can they? Can one worship God every minute of every day? Maybe not in the conventional sense that we know prayer, but we can by loving and serving our neighbor and using our God given abilities to assist them when we can. We see in Scripture that Jesus loved being with His friends, no matter what their state in life. He dined with the rich and with the poor. He cured the wealthy and the indigent. Jesus wants us to enjoy our time with our friends and family. That is one way we demonstrate our love for them, and it’s the same with our honest business transactions. By showing them love and kindness, we really do praise God.

Will we be friends with everyone? Of course not! Friendship is the meeting of minds and hearts and commonalities of desires and activities. Love is demonstrating kindness and showing respect to everyone we come in contact with. It’s not ignoring someone who needs assistance that we can provide.

Sometimes it’s easier to love God than our neighbor. It’s easy to say some prayers each day, to go to Mass on Sunday. But it isn’t always so easy to be kind to those we don’t like, to respectfully listen to ideas that are not our own. It isn’t easy to step out of our comfort zone to offer assistance to someone in need. But we cannot separate the love of God from love of neighbor. For loving our neighbor demonstrates our love of God.

“Serving God is doing good to man. But praying is thought an easier service and is therefore more generally chosen.” (Ben Franklin)

“Today, by the grace of God and his beloved Mother, I can honestly say that I love everybody. I might not like everybody, but
I love them.” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)

Linda Caminiti