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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 23, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Motive behind greatest love

No, it's not one's love for oneself, as a very popular song, covered by the late Whitney Houston, would put it. The greatest love of all is God's love for all of us which we are commanded to give one another and for which we are properly empowered.

We need to know more about this love, because it certainly is not only a matter of feelings and passion. Neither is it just philanthropy nor acute social concern. No, it's not just doing some charity work.

The greatest love of all can involve all of the above, but it is still a lot more. It is incarnating God's love in our own life, with the same motive that moved God to love us, and with the same end and power.

We have to be wary of our tendency to lower and diminish love's true stature, and to make it strictly our own affair that follows our own rules, our own biases and preferences, etc. That would be tantamount to commandeering something that is not ours in the first place. That would be like stealing.

Love, while it is obviously ours too, comes from God, our Creator. When we love someone or something, we are actually making use of the love that comes from God. Our loving is always a participation in God's love.

We just have to make sure that we love properly, that we love always respecting the law God has put into loving. In our loving, we may just reflect a fraction of that divine standard of love, and that's just ok.

What is not ok is when we go against the very essence of God's love. Though our human love has many forms, aspects and levels, it should always abide by the basic nature and law of love given by God.

The nature and law of love is actually written in our heart. But as things come, this nature and law in their original state can be tampered with or distorted. They need to be clarified and purified, which is actually what Christ did.

While there certainly is some autonomy in the ways our human love is expressed and developed, that autonomy should never mean it can go against what God has legislated about love.

Thus, it would be wrong to say that there are certain aspects of human love where God has nothing to do. God will and should always be involved, despite our autonomy. I believe that some major adjusting in our understanding of love is in order, since it can be readily seen that many times God is taken out of the picture in our love affairs.

Having said all that, what now comes to mind is that while it's true that there can be many forms of love, and all of them can be legitimate and moral, we also have to realize that we need to aim at the highest or the greatest love of all.

We need to live the very love of God for all of us. That's why Christ left us with the new commandment before ascending into heaven: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

It's a love that is universal in range and scope, not only in terms of quantity or the number of people to be loved, but also in terms of quality. We have to love everyone in the best way and for the best motive.

And the ultimate motive for the greatest love of all is the salvation of all mankind. When Christ said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” he certainly did not mean that we give others something. We have to give our whole selves and to help others to reach the final goal of humanity—our reconciliation with God, our holiness, our charity, etc.

This is the love that is capable, as St. Paul says, to bear all things, endures all things, conquers all things. This is the love that can lead us to our eternal life, not the one that simply lingers and eventually dies in our earthly sojourn. This is the love that is stronger than death.

This is the fullness of love to which all of us have to aspire. We should not allow ourselves to get detained in our worldly forms of love, no matter how good they are. That's because if our love is genuine, it will always go all the way. It does not recognize limits. It never says enough. With God's grace, the impossible becomes possible.

We need to train ourselves to develop this kind of love.

Let's aim at the fullness of love!*

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