“When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments’” (Matthew 22:34–40).
Within this passage, Jesus gives a complete summary of the moral law found in the Ten Commandments. The first three Commandments reveal that we must love God above all and with all our might. The last six Commandments reveal that we must love our neighbor. The moral law of God is as simple as fulfilling the two more general commandments: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37,39).
Take time to reflect upon these 5 simple ways to love God and your neighbor with all that you are. Strive to recommit in hope to the glorious path of making a total gift of yourself to God and others.
1. Turn Your Thoughts to Him
Jesus exhorts us to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:30). This means constantly calling our attention to our Lord throughout the day, despite our many distractions. We can do this by:
- Keeping an icon or picture of Jesus where we work or pray
- Speaking with our coworkers and family about Him
- Pausing amongst our duties to thank Jesus and ask for His continued help by offering a short prayer like the following:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians,
and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.
2. Personal and Family Prayer
St. Paul calls us to “Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:17-18). Our lives are meant to be marked by the praise and worship of God, no matter the task at hand. Take time to have personal and family prayer throughout the day. This can be done by personally praying with the Scriptures or the Divine Office and inviting the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and actions. Pray the Holy Rosary with your family, allowing the Blessed Virgin Mary to protect and intercede on behalf of your loved ones.
3. Service to Others
Jesus calls us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:39). This means placing others’ needs before our own, recognizing Christ in the poor, lonely, homeless, hungry, and hopeless. In whatever small or large ways we can, we should humble our selfish desires and offer up small sacrifices for the sake of our neighbor. Serve others in your community by:
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen
- Praying in front of an abortion clinic
- Donating extra clothing
- Fasting for the intention of your neighbor
4. Service to the Church
Out of the abundant grace of God, we are able to worship Our Lord in the form of the Most Blessed Sacrament with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Let us then offer our service to the Church by:
- Regularly attending the Sacraments
- Praying for our priests and other clergy
- Volunteering to clean the pews and floors on which we worship
5. Create a Christ-Centered Life
Creating a Christ-centered life is the goal of every faithful person on their journey to becoming a saint. You can start to build a life wholly lived for Christ by:
- Carving out time in your day to be with the Lord in prayer (specifically in front of the Blessed Sacrament)
- Reading the lives of the saints and imitating their example,
- Identifying your spiritual weaknesses to begin to root out vice and sow virtue,
- Regularly attending the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist,
- Serving God and your neighbor in both small and large ways.
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