Read the daily quote from Pope Francis

 

Article 1

Dear Friends,

In order to fulfill the demands of Catholic faith we begin with Jesus Christ who told us that we must love God will all our hearts and then our neighbor as ourselves.  To live this is to fulfill the demands of the Law and all the prophets.  Loving God and loving our neighbor is the very heart of Scripture.

St. Augustine in a meditation on these two great precepts writes,

“What are these two commandments?  Join me, my brethren, in recollecting them.  They ought to be thoroughly familiar to you and not just come into your mind when we recited them: they ought never to be blotted out from your hearts.  Always and everywhere, bear in mind that you must love God and your neighbor, love God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as you would love yourself.

We must always ponder these words, meditate them, hold them in our minds, practice them and bring them to fruition.  As far as teaching is concerned, the love of God comes first; but as far as doing is concerned, the love of our neighbor comes first. Whoever sets out to teach you these two commandments of love must not commend your neighbor to you first, and then God, but God first and then your neighbor.  You, on the other hand, do not yet see God, but loving your neighbor will bring you that sight.  By loving your neighbor you purify your eyes so that they are ready to see God, as John clearly says: If you do not love your brother, whom you see, how can you love God, whom you do not see?

You are told ‘Love God’.  If you say to me ‘Show me whom I love’, what can I say except what John says?  No man has ever seen God.  But you must not think yourself wholly unsuited to seeing God: God is love, says John, and whoever dwells in love dwells in God.  So love whoever is nearest to you and look inside you to see where that love is coming from: thus, as far as you are capable, you will see God.

So start to love your neighbor.  Share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into your house.  Clothe the naked, and do not despise the servants of your kin.

This is the formula used by all the saints which makes them the epitome of what it means to be human.  Over and over again we see saints who have a deep spiritual life and a hunger to set things right in the world.  St Francis bears the stigmata in deep union with the suffering Christ and is given the command, Rebuild my Church.  St Thomas More, the model of the just lawyer, from a deep spiritual life upholds the sanctity of marriage and the papacy in a time when to do so will mean his death.  St Frances Cabrini will cross the ocean 67 times even though she has a deadly fear of bodies of water to minister to immigrants, open hospitals and schools for the poor.  St Vincent de Paul, after finishing his duties as a parish priest will go out into the night looking for abandoned babies and children.  The examples are as numerous as they are easy to recount. 

We also must be people who live the Two Great Commandments.  We begin with love of God; prayer and worship.  When we fall more deeply in love of God, good and great works will follow. 

Fr Al