Loving God is that simple! PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 13:25

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

QUITE often, we think that loving God would require tremendous, almost superhuman effort. In a sense, that is right. After all, if we have to observe how Christ loved and continues to love his Father and us, that can only be the conclusion we can get. He went all the way to offer his life on the cross. Indeed, this love can only happen with the grace of God, and never just by our own strength.

But from another angle, loving God is actually a very simple affair. It just requires us to give due attention to those who are in need of something—food, clothing, shelter, affection, etc.

“Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did for me,” Christ clearly said. (Mt 25,40) He also said the reverse: “Whatever you did not do for the least of my brothers, you did not do for me.” (Mt 25,45)

These words of Christ should make us keenly aware of what St. John said in his first letter about the relation between loving God and loving others: “If a man says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see.” (4,20) Yes, loving God can only be by way of loving others.

The immediate corollary we can draw from these words is that we should try our best to cultivate a pro-active attitude of loving others, whoever they may be, including those who may be our enemies in some sense, or whom we consider to be unlovable for one reason or another.

And we have to understand that loving God by loving others should not just be a matter of good intentions and sweet words. It has to be expressed in deeds, and not only from time to time, but always, starting with the little things we can do for the others, all the way to the big and extraordinary things that others may need from us.

And when we are faced with a situation where we cannot help in a human way, we can always turn to God for help, for with him nothing is impossible. We just have to learn to roll with the punches of the mysterious ways of God.

Besides, we have to love others by serving them gratuitously, without expecting any return. We should not count the cost, because anyway what we have or what we are capable of giving to the others ultimately comes from God. So we just follow what Christ once said: “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt 10,8)

Everyday, we should see to it that what drives us is to love the others. We have to start by always thinking of others, observing them, trying to figure out what they need, and be ready to  spring into action, leaving behind comfort and convenience, which is often the case.

We should not be afraid to make sacrifices and a host of self-denials. These instances of self-denials can only reflect Christ’s own self-emptying for the salvation of mankind. And so we become more and more Christ-like, which is what our goal should be, since we are supposed to be patterned after Christ.

This way, we avoid the trap of self-centeredness and self-absorption, and the many deceptive pleasures and false hopes that they give. Even if the sacrifices and self-denials involve a lot of effort and pain, they actually generate a certain indescribable joy and peace that the world cannot give.

Besides, having this pro-active attitude of loving and serving others would give us ample protection from our own weaknesses and the many temptations around.