O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I God You

XVII Sunday after Pentecost - II Class
Epistle: Eph. 4:1-6 [The unity of our faith]
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46 ["Love thy neighbor"]

The devout life is known for having many rules and regulations, often complicated. This was true in the Old Testament with the Law of Moses and it is true today in the New Testament with Church Law. In today's Gospel, Our Blessed Lord does something quite interesting, which makes life easier on us all: He summarizes the entire law in just two commandments. The 10 Commandments are reduced to just two: love of God and love of neighbor. The first three commandments regard love of God and commandments 4-10 regard love of neighbor. Everything in the Law of Moses and everything in Church Law falls under either love of God or love of neighbor.

It is sometimes easy to think that love of God and love of neighbor are two different things, after all God and neighbor are two different people and one (neighbor) deserves respect, while the Other (God) deserves much more respect. However, love of God and love of neighbor are ultimately the same thing. Love of God is the reciprocation of the love He has for us. He deserves to have His love reciprocated just because He loved us first and gave His life for our good. He, the Nymphios (Bridegroom) gave everything He had, everything He was to take care of us and save us from the destruction we inflicted on ourselves by running away into sin.

When we love our neighbor, the love we give them is not our own, but God's love for them, relayed to them through us. When we love our neighbor, we do not see them the way the world does, rather we see them the way God sees them. We act towards them the same way Christ acts towards them, giving ourselves for their greater good. Love then, is a grace. A grace (as any good catechism will tell us) is the presence of God the Holy Ghost. Love is the Holy Ghost, teaching us how to take care of the beloved, teaching us to see her the way He sees her. Love of God is God's love returned back to Him and love of neighbor is God's love passed on to her. God's love is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost binds together God the Father and God the Son, in a perfect inseparable unity of desiring Each Other and giving Themselves to Each Other.

Similarly, the Holy Ghost, through the seven sacraments, binds together Christ the Bridegroom and His Bride the Church. This is accomplished most perfectly in the Holy Eucharist, where Christ sacrifices Himself on the Cross for the good of His Bride and She reciprocates this love by offering Herself up to Him, that He might take care of Her. The Holy Ghost binds husband and wife in the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony, in a union that imitates and is modeled after the union of Christ and His Bride. The husband gives everything he has, everything he is, to take care of his bride and she offers herself up to him completely that he might take care of her. He gives to her the love God gave to him and she does likewise. God makes Himself present to him through her and likewise to her through him. That essentially how all forms of love between to people work. The lover passes on to the beloved the love given to him so that God can make Himself present to the beloved through the lover.

St. Paul in today's Epistle and Our Blessed Lord in today's Gospel both state how we have One Faith and One God. There is but one Love Who moves in two directions: vertically between God and man, as well as horizontally between men. This forms a cross, the premier symbol of love, as it was on the cross that Christ suffered and sacrificed Himself for His Bride, giving us all the example we are to imitate. If we love someone, we are willing to suffer the worst torments for them. Any idiot can be with you when life is happy. Only those who love you will bear suffering and misery for your sake. Any idiot can have a heart dedicated to you. Only those who love you will carry a cross for you.