Part of the Gospel says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” I feel it’s easy to read a familiar scripture verse, such as this one, and not really grasp the depth of Jesus’ words. Many times, I read over the verse too quickly and think “oh yea, I got it”, but do I really? When I take apart the verse and focus on the individual words, I discover a new level of richness and greatness in what Jesus is asking us. The word that stands out to me is “ALL”. He wants our complete, entire and all encompassing love.
So what does this mean? How do we live out this type of love? How do we give God our “all”?
I recently heard Matthew Kelly share a great quote by Fr. Pedro Arrupe that says, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
So how do you spend your time? How can you put God as the answer to these questions addressed in the quote? If we continue to seek out ways to give God our “all” throughout our days, we will grow in that deeper relationship and love with Him.
The Gospel then goes on to say, “The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If we are able to grow and develop the ability to give God our “all” and love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength, then we have the ability to encompass the same love that is to be shared with our neighbor. In the acts of charity and love we share with our neighbor, we share with Christ.
It’s so beautiful how Jesus shares these greatest commandments together. It’s easy to get trapped in our own lives, our little “bubbles” and put shields up against the world around us. But Jesus shares how it’s just as important for us to treat our neighbors with Christ’s love as it is for us to grow in our personal love for Christ by giving Him our all. The two go hand and hand.
Think about the way you spend your time. What’s one change you can make during this day or Lenten season that will increase your ability to give Christ your “all” by deepening your relationship with Him and sharing His love with your neighbor?
Allison Seklecki is a traveling occupational therapist currently working in Columbia, SC.