Thanks for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
One thing that amazes me about the prayers of the mass is how old some of them are! This week’s prayer is put together with parts of other texts that date back to the sixth century. Although it is referred to as a new prayer, it was compiled as a Collect for the post-Vatican II missal.
O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
This week I’ve been meditating on the Who: God who founded His laws on our love of Him and love of our neighbor. This is so important, that at least five times in Scripture, in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we are told to love God above all things, then love our neighbor.
Even in the Ten Commandments, the first three commandments are about loving God, the remaining seven are how to love our neighbor. Yet, it seems that when we think about the Ten Commandments, what we remember first are the “thou shalt not’s” and not the first Commandment, telling us that God should be first in our life.
Then, I came across a quote from Cornelius a Lapide, and it jolted my thinking. He wrote, “This precept is in everyone’s power as possible to keep.” He goes on and says that no portion of our love should go to an idol or anything whatsoever that is contrary to God. We should wish that God be the final object of ALL our thoughts, actions and love and that we choose Him before all things. We should value nothing as having as much worth as God.
He then quotes St. Bernard, “The reason for loving God is God Himself. The measure of loving God is to love without measure.”
That’s where love for the other person comes in. The first time I visited a Benedictine monastery, I had a desire to be a monk. Yes, I know I can never be a monk, but we have a lot to learn from them.
One of the first things I noticed was how they bow to each other when they meet to pray. It’s a lesson that teaches us about loving one another. They bow not only to acknowledge the existence of the other, but to acknowledge that in the other is where God dwells.
When we are established in God’s love, it’s only natural to love others. It’s a good thing, too, because we’re saved in bunches. We are saved as a people. While I have my own individual relationship with God, it is through not only our love of God, but our love for others where we gain salvation. We’re in this together.
This week as we Lectio the Liturgy, spend some time in the Bible Readings for this weekend. It’s easy to tell in these scriptures when someone’s love is in the correct order and when it’s not. Ask God to show you the areas where you can give Him a higher priority. He will show you, it may be through words, or pictures or a pop quiz, but know it will be done in love. We love because he first loved us.
Thank you for praying with me,