God is One and there is no other. And to love God with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Loving God is the root of everything. We all long for love. We seek it out from the moment of our birth. Love of parents, love of family, love of friends, love of a partner – all natural desires for human beings. Yet love without God is nothing, for God is Love. God is not the essence of love, the feeling of love or the idea of love; God is love, and from this love stems forth all the rest.
Jesus reminds us that the first and foremost commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. Not because God has an egotistical need for our adoration, but because our lives will be filled with the strength and knowledge of a love that is so profound, so complete, so pure that it can actually transform us.
Self-love often eludes us because we’re so focused on our imperfections we lose sight of our true selves. Loving someone else – especially someone we do not care for – eludes us because love another human being is to risk. We risk being rejected, hurt, or we risk hurting someone else. But, if we first love God, spend time with God, rejoice and cry with God, we will become aware of who we are at our core – a person created in love, treasured by love, sustained in love, and made to love ourselves and others – imperfectly as the results may be. We will find the resting ground where we can learn to forgive as God forgives, love as God loves, and nourish the world as God nourishes us.
Perhaps today we can simply rest our hearts, minds, and souls in the purity of God’s love. Let’s try to absorb this love so fully and so deeply that it overflows into our psyche and our behavior. Today, let’s let Love transform us.