“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mk. 12:30-31

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus outlines the first and second commandments of which there is “no other greater commandment than these.” This is awesome. Because first there are the Ten Commandments from Moses. Then, there’s what people in my life are eager to preach to me about, regarding what Jesus wants and who I should be. Let’s not forget everyone’s two cents online. And, in politics. This is enough for me, at times, to be conflicted, confused, or frustrated.

So when we can break it down to the roots and go to straight to the source to see that there’s only two - what simplicity! Sounds easy, right? Yet, at least for me, it’s not.

Loving God or loving my neighbor, at times, can flow when I’m having a good day or I see an injustice in the world that I can either help out with or pray for. My prayers are ladled with words of gratitude. Advocating for and lifting up those in need, who are noticeably on the fringes of society, makes me feel like a good Christian. But does that make me a loving one? Am I following Jesus’ commandments?

I have bad days when things don't go my way. There are times when people cut me off on the freeway or lie to me or do things that make life hard for me or those whom I love. There are seasons when I'm pissed off at God, blaming him for being unhappy because following him has lead me to an uncomfortable place. Because I can have a love/hate relationship with Facebook and the news where I become angry and upset at people who don't agree with me politically or see things the way I see them.

And truthfully, that's OK. That's being honest.

But can I still love God in those moments? Can I love those I am infuriated at? What is the tone of the words I use with God then? Have I defined my neighbor as those who only think, act, or believe like me?

Dear Loving Father, as Lent unfolds, unfold my very heart so that it may grow in its capacity to love you, myself, and my neighbors more completely.

Rae Visita

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk