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Love of Neighbor

Our communion with God is not only through prayer or through His Word. We are in communion with God when we put our love of neighbor into practice.

Last month, we tried to live the “Word of Life” as a means of living communion. Let us discover the “love of neighbor” this month. In the gospel Jesus spells out clearly, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine you did it to me.”

One of the best ways to build union with God is by loving our neighbor. Building on “love of neighbor”, Chiara Lubich draws some of her insights from this gospel essence into easy-to- remember guidelines she calls “the art of loving.” 

One is to “love everyone.” This means to love every person without distinction and discrimination, as God loves each one of us. So love everyone: young or old, rich or poor, Filipino or foreigner, Christian or Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim. This is a good reminder to everyone especially in today’s corona virus global crisis. It can’t be an excuse for treating people differently.

Two, be the first one to love. Chiara encourages the initiative to love first. One morning, I went to buy bread and I noticed that the signboard said “CLOSED” even though there were customers already buying inside. Entering the door, I asked the sales lady if I can flip the sign board to “OPEN.” She smiled and said “Please, thank you. You made my day. I forgot to flip it.” It was a simple gesture of loving first. Let us remember that God loved us first by becoming man. Being created in the image and likeness of God, we are then called to be a gift to one another.

Three, love others as we love ourselves. This is the way for all of us to become the family of God.  Do to others what you want them to do for you. Chiara asked us to imagine if all nations practice the golden rule to “love other countries as you love your own.” 

 Four, is to “make yourself one with others.”  This guideline has to do with putting ourselves in the shoes of others; walking the extra mile, listening, understanding their thoughts and problems, and sharing their joys and sufferings. Making ourselves one with others makes the work environment easier, lighter and joyful.

Fifth, is to “love Jesus in everyone.”  Jesus says “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did it for Me.” Let us see Jesus in every person.  

Sixth is “mutual love.” If we practice the art of living, we end up loving one another in mutual love. Let the love of our neighbor be the measure of our love to God. 

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