Jesus said to his apostles, “Whoever loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.” To receive this message literally may seem quite harsh, but actually it is another way of stating the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
With the help of our parents, God created us out of love, and it is his love that keeps us in existence. God, in his wisdom, commands us to love him above all else – because he knows this is the only way to perfect happiness. Since God is Love and is the source of love, we can only reach our potential for loving ourselves and others when we love God first.
In God’s plan, everything is connected to his love, even the crosses he asks us to carry.
- He has already proven his love for us by sending his Son to become one of us. Born of the Virgin Mary, he took the name Jesus, and fulfilled all that the Scriptures prophesied about him.
- He spoke with authority and performed miracles while teaching about the love of the Heavenly Father.
- Out of love for us he established his Church upon Peter, the first pope, and the apostles so that his authority will be with us until the end of time, showing us how to live our lives close to God.
- On the night before he died, at the Last Supper, he instituted the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist so that those who believe in him might be one with him in a supernatural way when we receive him sacramentally. Such is his love for us.
- In obedience to the Father, he suffered his terrible passion and death on the cross for our salvation; he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven so that the Father would send the Holy Spirit on the Church he founded.
Love for God
This Jesus who has done all of this for us is telling us what we must do if we are to share eternal life with him. When God is our priority, we will recognize the specific plan he has for each of us. Then when we undergo trials, we know he will help us carry our crosses, because he promised he would.
God has always loved me, but I did not always give much thought about my love for God. How could I? Prayer was only an occasional activity. For love to be real, it must be a relationship with mutual and frequent communication. God is constantly communicating with us through his creation, through the events of the day, and through the people around us. When we spend time in prayer every day, when we read the Scriptures, and when we participate in the Mass and the sacraments of the Church; we become more aware of how close God is to us, and we begin to love God because we are able to experience his love.
What I Didn’t Know
Like most Catholics, I received my First Communion when I was in second grade. Through the years, I knew this was a special gift that I should not receive if I committed a mortal sin, but I did not have a deep understanding that this was the greatest gift of my life. Our Lord loves us so much that he gives us himself totally under the appearance of bread and wine. He does this so that we can become one with him in a supernatural way, and this is as close as we can get to heaven on earth.
Before the three children from Fatima received Holy Communion from the angel, they were taught this prayer. “I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love thee. And I ask pardon of those who do not believe, adore hope and love thee.” If we ask God, he will help us believe, adore, hope, and love him.
Lord, you have proven your love for me, help me to prove my love for you.
Deacon Tom Fox, K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.