From the desk of Fr Stephen Oct 31, 2021

From the desk of Fr Stephen

One of the qualities we have as human beings that are different from the rest of the animal world is love.  We may see animals caring for their young, but they are doing this more because of the furthering of the species rather than doing it out of love.  Human beings have the ability, the human emotion, to love.  And this love can be directed to many different things.  We can say, for instance, that we “love” our job.  It is the thing we want to do with our lives.  We may have envisioned doing our jobs since we were children, and now that we are doing it, we can’t think of doing anything else.  We, as humans, also can love our pets.  We may become devoted to a dog or cat, or bird.  This love might be different than the love we might express for our jobs.  We can love both, but maybe in different ways.  We also can love other human beings.  This love, for most people, would be different than the love we might have for a job or pet.  Hopefully, we have people that love us in return.  By loving another human being, we have the chance to “fall in love.”  This falling in love is different because it brings about the possibility of the other person falling in love with us.  We may think we love our pet and that our pet loves us, but we would not think of committing ourselves to this pet for the rest of our lives the way we would in marriage.  As humans, this kind of love is only appropriate toward another human.

Finally, as humans, we have the choice, ability, wherewithal, to love God, our creator.  No other created thing has this gift.  God did not create anything else in the universe that can love our creator the way we do.  In the readings from Deuteronomy and Matthew today, we are reminded of this gift of expressing our love with God.  It is said to suggest that even though we are capable of loving God with everything in us, this does not always happen.  Earlier, I mentioned the different ways we might love, and although sometimes these are not bad things to love, they cannot replace our commitment to the God of all.  As it says in the old Baltimore Catechism, “We need to realize that God created us for God.  God has created us exclusively to be in a relationship with him; this is our purpose in life.”  We should not need to be reminded of this, but sometimes this is necessary.  God is so good and loving that nothing should get in the way of our love for him; this is the greatest of all the commandments, i.e., putting God first.  Every day it is important to remind ourselves to put God first  in all things.  Can God be the first thing we think of when we get up in the morning and the last thing we think about when we go to bed?  No other being can do this and I invite you to consider it.  No matter what else might be going on, God always comes first.