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Basics of Love

In the beginning, God created everything that exists. However, God lacks literally nothing, and by creating He did not actually gain anything. So why did he create anything? He created the universe, and us, purely out of love. When we speak about love we mean willing the good of another person for their sake, not because we will get anything out of it. So, He creates us purely out of love and to love, both to love God and love one another. God’s love is so powerful that it creates and blesses His creation, giving it every good thing.

In so doing, God gave us guidelines that will help us to love Him and one another. Kind of like a manual and it is only by doing these things that we can be truly happy. Now, in the very beginning, Adam and Eve are deceived. They decide that they know better than God and decide that loving themselves more than God and each other will make them happy. When they do this, when they focus on inordinate love of self, they destroy their relationships. They destroy their relationship with God, they destroy their relationship with each other, and they destroy their relationship with the world God made for them.

At its heart, sin is this: saying I know what you want, but I don’t care because I only love myself. I don’t love you, but I only want to use you for what I can get from you. However, even when we think this will make us happy it really can’t. There is nothing that we can gain for ourselves that can fill the void in our hearts except to love others. We need to love God and other people- those are literally the only things that can last forever.

Once Adam and Eve do this, they lose their special ability to love like God loves and they can’t really do anything to get it back. In order to restore this, God sends us Jesus to offer himself in the ultimate act of love: he offers himself as a sacrifice of atonement (literally at-one-ment) to restore our relationship to God and others. Not only does he tell us the law, but his sacrifice gives us grace so that we are able to truly love as Adam and Eve could before the fall. Now, Jesus himself tells us that loving God and neighbor is the fulfillment of the law. But God also gives us things like the 10 Commandments to give us concrete examples of how we should love.

He gives us the first three commandments to help us know how we can love God, that is to will what He wills: We are not to worship any other gods. Now, this might seem silly to us now. How many of us worship Zeus or Thor? However, in our modern society, we are often tempted to worship nature, or ourselves, or money, or power. All of these things detract from true love. Next, we are to treat God’s name respectfully. He is Our Father who created us and loves us. We should not be disrespectful toward Him. Finally, He wants some of our time every week. Just like we need to spend time with our loved ones, God wants us to set time aside for Him so that we can go to Mass and be with Him in a very special and important way.

Second, He gives us rules that tell us how we can be happy in our relationships with other persons.

He tells us we need to be respectful of our parents who gave us life. Similar to how we are to respect God who first gives us life. We have to respect the lives of all persons. We cannot kill anyone else, of course. But we also cannot treat them unkindly in words or actions. We cannot harbor grudges against them or seek revenge against those who wrong us. We have to be faithful in our relationships and we have to treat our bodies and those of others with respect. We have to behave modestly and chastely. We must respect the property of other people. We cannot take or destroy things that don’t belong to us. But, we also must help those in need and use our time to help others. We must be honest and respect the truth. We also should not gossip or bully others because words can cause real harm. We have to be careful to tell the truth because God is truth.

We should not lust after other people. We should never use a person as an object, but we should always love them as another person.

Finally, we must be careful not to envy the things other people have. We should not wish harm on others for what they have and should be happy with the things that we do have. Ultimately, things cannot make us happy.

If we do these things it will lead to more loving and peaceful relationships, and if we don’t all of our relationships will suffer and ultimately, we will be miserable.


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