| First Love | Divine Love | The Second Greatest Commandment |

First Love

"But I have this against you, that you have left your first love." (Apoc 2:4)

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut 6:4-9) [Audi, Israel: Dominus Deus noster Dominus unus est.  Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo et ex tota anima tua et ex tota fortitudine tua.  Eruntque verba haec quae ego praecipio tibi hodie in corde tuo, et narrabis ea filiis tuis, et meditaberis in eis sedens in domo tua et ambulans in itinere, dormiens atquae consurgens.]

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Jn 14:15)

"He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (Jn 14:21)

"You are my friends, if you do what I command you." (Jn 15:14)

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new!  ... You were with me and I was not with you." (St Augustine, Confessions 10, 27)

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, but have not love, I gain nothing." (I Cor 13:1-3)

"My Lord and my God, take from me everything that takes me away from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you." (St Nicholas of Flue)

"The soul that truly loves the Lord never says "Enough!" whenever he is given a chance to serve, to sacrifice his comfort." (Bl Josemaria Escriva)

" 'Lord, you know that I love you!'  How very often, Jesus, I repeat again and again those words your dear Cephas uttered, as a bitter-sweet litany.  For I know that I love you, and yet I am so very unsure of myself that I cannot bring myself to say it to you clearly.  There are so many denials in my wicked life.  'You know, Lord! You know that I love you.'  May my actions, Jesus, never go against these yearnings of my heart." (Bl Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 176)

"Sweet Mother, lead us to that madness that will make others fall madly in love with our Christ.  Sweet Lady Mary, may love not be in us a flash in the pan, or a will-o'-the-wisp, such as decomposing corpses sometimes produce.  May it be a true devouring fire, which sets alight and burns everything it touches." (Bl Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 57)

"When there is no faith, one acts without any supernatural criteria; and without love, one does not mind betraying God." (Alvaro del Portillo)

"... so that as we ever stand by Mary at the foot of Jesus' cross, our hearts may burn with love for Christ  our God." (Prayer in a Shrine to our Lady of Sorrows) [...ut stantibus nobis semper cum Maria iuxta crucem Iesu, ardeant corda nostra in amando Christum Deum.]

"We have to love God because our heart is made for love.  That is why, if we don't give our heart to God, to our Lady and Mother, to souls ... with a pure affection, it will seek revenge -- and will breed worms instead." (Bl Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 204)

"Work does not tire those who love; rather it delights them.  Because when one loves, one does not tire, or also, one loves tiredness."  (St Augustine)

Divine Love

"This is my Body, which will be given up for you.
This is the cup of my Blood: it will be shed for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven." (Formula for consecration.  Cf I Cor 11:23-25)

"The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor requite us according to our iniquities." (Ps 103(102))
[Miserator et misericors Dominus, longanimis et multae misericordiae.
Non in perpetuum contendet, neque in aeternum irascetur.
Non secundum peccata nostra fecit nobis, neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuit nobis.]

"Come what may to himself, all must be well with them.  They will desert him; another man so treated would have chided them for their fickleness, would have reminded them of their own assurances and promises, would have demanded some kind of sorrow and repentance, would have questioned whether he could ever trust them so implicitly again.  Jesus does nothing of the kind; from that day onward not another word is said about it.  When, in matter of fact they do desert him, he will alow no man to touch them.  He will suspend the very action of the Passion itself that they may be allowed to go away in peace and safety. When on Easter Day he returns to them again, there is no word of complaint; it is as if they had been faithful all the time.  In the same way, though he has warned them sufficiently before and they have refused to listen, at this moment there is no thought of himself and his own rights, no rebuke for their infidelity.  He is troubled only about their sorrow, so definitely less than his own.  He closes with words of confidence and peace for them, in spite of what they will do to him, though for himself there remains only an ocean of anguish; with the same words of peace and confidence he will resume his intimacy after he has risen from the dead, when, be it noticed, it will be he who will come back to them, not they to him."  (Alban Goodier, The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, pp 116-117)

"For the charity of Christ impels us .... And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." (II Cor 5:14-15)

The Second Greatest Commandment

"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the rght.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (I Cor 13:4-7)

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, let me sow pardon;
Where there is doubt, let me sow faith,
Where there is despair, let me sow hope,
Where there is darkness, let me sow light,
Where there is sadness, let me sow joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."  (St Francis of Asisi)

"Everyone wants to know from the Pope what to do, what to ask, how to prepare ... because you truly are in love.  And I think that a person who loves knows what to do, because love is the source of the deepest kind of knowledge.  Such that if you really love, as you say, you know everything: what to do, what to ask, why pray ....  Everything!"  (John Paul II)

"The principal apostolate we Christians must carry out in the world, and the best witness we can give of our faith, is to help bring about a climate of genuine charity within the Church." (Bl Josemaria Escriva, Friends of God, 226)

"Be silent, pray, work, smile."  (Bl Josemaria Escriva)

"Bear the burden of one another's failings, then you will be fulfilling the law of Christ." (Gal 6:2)

"To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all men, in order to save all." (I Cor 9:22)

"You have heard that it was said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor and shalt hate thy enemy.'  But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, who makes his sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those that love you, what reward shall you have?  Do not even the publicans do that?  And if you salute your brethren only, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do that?" (Mt 5:43-47)

"And I tell you, that if your justice does not give fuller measure than the justice of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  ... You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5:20,48)

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish."  (Lk 6:35)

"Little children, let us not love in word or in speech but in deed and in truth." (I Jn 3:18)

"Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.  Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Lk 6:36-38)

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." (Mother Teresa)

"Do not be too eager, brethren, to impart instruction to others; be sure that, if we do, we shall be called to account all the more strictly." (James 3:1)

"Your love must be a sincere love; you must hold what is evil in abomination, fix all your desire upon what is good.  Be affectionate towards each other, as the love of brothers demands, eager to give one another precedence.  I would see you unwearied in activity, aglow with the Spirit, waiting like slaves upon the Lord; buoyed up by hope, patient in affliction, persevering in prayer, providing generously for the needs of the saints, giving the stranger a loving welcome." (Rom 12:9-12)

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, never be conceited.  Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' No, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink .... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom 12:14-21)

"Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity.  If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others.  Our Lady did nothing else in Cana but think of the needs of others and make their needs known to Jesus." (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

"The love which loves cannot but see." (St John Chrysologus) [Amor quod amat non potest non videre.]

"One sincere resolve: to make the way lovable and easy for everyone else, since life already brings a lot of bitterness with it." (Bl Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, 63)

"If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain."  (Emily Dickinson)

"The Sage is good to the good,
He is also good to the evil:
For virtue is good in itself.
The Sage is faithful to the faithful,
He is also faithful to the unfaithful:
For virtue is faithful in itself."  (Laotse, Tao)

"Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who'll never find it out." (Frank A Clark)

"...every kind of beast and bird, or reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue -- a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing." (James 3:7-10)

"Do not let resentment lead you into sin; the sunset must not find you still angry.  Do not give the devil his opportunity." (Eph 4:26)

"It is for us men to be ready listeners, slow to speak our minds, slow to take offence." (James 1:19)

"If anyone deludes himself by thinking he is serving God when he has not learned to control his tongue, the service he gives is vain." (James 1:26)

"Some people pay a compliment as if they expected a receipt." (Kin Hubbard)

"Never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut." (Robert Newton Peck)

"Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead." (Chinese proverb)

"In necessary things, unity.  In doubt, freedom.  And in everything, charity."  (St Augustine)

"We are faced with a new paganism: the deification of the nation.  History has shown that the passage from nationalism to totalitarianism is swift, and that, when states are no longer equal, people themselves end up by no longer being equal.  Thus the natural solidarity between peoples is destroyed, the sense of proportion is distorted, the principle of the unity of mankind is held in contempt.
"The Catholic Church cannot accept such a vision of things.  Universal by nature, she is conscious of being at the service of all and never identifies with any one national community.  She welcomes into her bosom all nations, races and cultures.  She is mindful of -- indeed she knows that she is the depository of -- God's design for humanity: to gather all people into one family.  And this because he is the Creator and Father of all.  That is the reason why every time that Christianity -- whether according to its Western or Eastern tradition -- becomes the instrument of a form of nationalism, it is as it were wounded in its very heart and made sterile."  (John Paul II, Discourse to Diplomatic Corps, 15 January 1994)