By Yvonne Grace Dolorosa
You’ve heard people say, “Love is complicated.”
But in Catholic teaching, it’s complicated in a beautiful, subtle way.
Simply put, the Catholic faithful believe that God is love, and everything else follows from there.
The complicated part is in the details, and of course, God is in the details.
The true test of love
If we truly believe that God is present in every person and creature, how we treat others can show how we ultimately treat God.
If we are indifferent to others, we’re actually being indifferent to God, even if it doesn’t seem the case.
When we hate someone, we can conclude that we also hate God.
The American activist, journalist, and Catholic Convert Dorothy Day once said, “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”
Because if we truly believe and love God, we would logically have to be true lovers of everyone else—no matter.
Then the surefire way to know if we truly love God is if we can love the unlovable simply because we know that that’s what God wants us to do.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Loving others for God’s sake
God loves everyone, even if not everyone loves Him in return.
But how do we love the unlovable, the smelly, the annoying, the hardened in sin, the stubborn, the proud, the murderous, the immoral?
When we read the Catechism and think about love in all its expressions, it gets even more interesting.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads, “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (Section 1822).
Apparently, God isn’t asking us to love the unlovable because it’s a natural thing to do, He is asking us to love them for His sake!
If we ever love someone, it should be because we want to please God—and not for any other reason.
Passing the love on
When the Lord touches us, He certainly wants to show us His immense love, but He also wants us to touch others with that same love.
When Jesus heals our wounds from sin, He always invites us to become instruments of healing to others.
When Jesus touches us in the sacraments, especially in confession and in the Eucharist, it’s not supposed to end with us.
We are always sent to share His love with others.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI insisted that we can love, precisely because we have been loved first by God.
It’s by loving God that we learn to love others.
At the same time, only by loving our neighbor can we truly know God’s love.
The Pope Emeritus wrote: “Love of God and love of neighbor are thus inseparable; they form a single commandment.”
The next time you encounter the person you can’t stand, the person who has hurt you, remember he is actually Jesus in disguise.
Love him, and you love God!