An informal get together (food and beverages provided) to reflect and discuss on a topic in Salesian Spirituality.
The evening’s conversation will be centered on the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday Mass on Nov. 4th
Tuesday, October 30 at 5PM
Alacoque House (intersection of Preston Lane and Landis Mill Road)
RSVP is not required, but appreciated for the planning of refreshments.
Included are the Gospel & a Reflection provided by the “Sunday Salesian” page on the Oblates of SFDS website.
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
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.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.’
And ‘to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself’
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
“Which is the first of all of the commandments?”
When we get right down to it, what is the most important dimension of our faith? Upon what foundation does the edifice of Christianity rest?
Jesus’ answer is unambiguous: love. This love has three facets.
Love of God. Francis de Sales tells us that the reason that we love God is because of who God is: our dignity, and our destiny. “We love God because God is the most supreme and most infinite goodness.”
Love of neighbor. Francis de Sales tells us: “Love of God not only commands love of neighbor, but it even produces and pours love of neighbor into our hearts. Just as we are in God’s image, so the sacred love we have for one another is the true image of our heavenly love for God.”
Love of self. This is the aspect that perhaps we are most tempted to overlook: after all, “self-love” sounds suspiciously like being self-centered. Why should we love ourselves? Simply and profoundly because “we are God’s image and likeness,” says Francis de Sales. When we are at our best all of us are the “most holy and living images of the divine.”
Why is authentic love of self so critical to our love of God and neighbor? Simply, if we fail to love ourselves, how can we possibly give praise and thanks to God for creating us? If we fail to love ourselves, how can we possible love our neighbor who is not only made in God’s image, but who is fundamentally made in the image and likeness of us since we all come from the same source – God himself.
The fullness of Christian perfection – the fullness of living Christ’s life – can be likened to a three-legged table. To the extent that any one of the three legs is weak, the whole table is seriously at risk. Such a table cannot hope to support any significant weight. So, too, if any one of the three loves of our lives – God, self and others – is deficient, all three will suffer, and we cannot hope to carry the weight of God’s command for us to build up something of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
To be sure, love is the simple answer to what is most important in our lives. In our lived experience, however, this love is never quite so simple as we might like to believe.
How is your love of God? How is your love of neighbor? How is your love of self?