From a Creighton Student's Perspective
October 21, 2011
Sophomore, Biology Major, Pre-Med
Though God has for us Ten Commandments, all of which are perpetually important to living a virtuous and fulfilling life, today’s Gospel reading catches Jesus as he condenses these laws into two essential rules. Even then, he emphasizes the first law as the most important—to love God unconditionally—and only after we are devoted to living out that single law to its fullest will all other teachings of God then fall into place.
God’s first commandment is so strong that it challenges the disciple to love God in three different ways. As if you couldn’t already love God with all your heart, God challenges you to love with your entire mind and your entire soul as well. While it may sound easy to love God with your heart and soul, loving God also with your mind seems somewhat more difficult. The mind is the center of reason, the center for empirical science, philosophical theory, economic systems, and now, for loving God? Like an episode of Sesame Street, one of these concepts just doesn’t belong. How can one love God with their sense of reason, when much of reason today sets out to disprove the existence of God, not only scientifically, but in the human sense as well.
If God created the universe and all its people in his image, and if the first and foremost commandment is to love God, then it follows that we should love others with equal fervor. Yet in reality, this unconditional love for others sometimes does not seem to be the case. Political systems fight back and forth over who deserves what in this society. Economic systems suggest that life favors those who amass wealth and disparages those without. Even some social sciences assert a “survival of the fittest” theory, where life will have its winners and losers. In the world today, the task to find a reason to love those around us unconditionally appears impossible. Yet I believe that is precisely God’s challenge for mankind: to find a reason to love every single individual in the face of overwhelming reason against it.
A lofty goal it is, one that many have probably already given up on. More likely is the case that God has set the bar high so that we as disciples may take unconditional love a step further every day. The idea is reciprocal, that if we love God, then we love all whom God made in his image. Likewise, if we all learn to love one another, then we love God as well. One type of love cannot happen in the absence of the other. When loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind finally makes sense, as I believe Jesus tries to convey, the rest of the world will then naturally fall into place.
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