Fr. Voigt, "The Least Practiced Greatest of Commandments"
Of all the laws made by man there is not found one greater than the greatest commandment of God: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, thy whole soul, thy whole mind and thy whole strength. This is the greatest of all commandments and upon its execution depends the reward which a soul will receive from God. Upon this commandment true order is placed within the heart and soul of man. Yet despite all this it is the one commandment least practiced by God's own creations. Let us today consider the purpose of man and the value of this commandment; the manner in which man may increase in his love of God; and the means to preserve this love of God.
Recall the first question of the Baltimore catechism: "Why did God create you?" God created me first of all to "know" Him. Knowledge requires reading, studying and applying what is learned to my life. It is the knowledge of God that leads me to stir up the love within my heart. We can appropriately say that knowledge begets love. Our purpose in life is to love God and this love is defined by the Master, Who came in the flesh to teach us the
true nature of love. Jesus defined love by His action upon the Cross. "No greater love has a man but that he will lay down his life." Love in the nature of God is divine, sacrificial and
victimal. If the goal of man's life is to love then the goal of his life is to be sacrificial, victimal and ready to suffer in the same manner as our Lord.
Therefore this goal of man leads us to the value of Love divine. First, Love enhances every action of man to achieve the goal. Man will live and work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. There is no greater good than that of recognizing the God is all and we are nothing. God is amiable and we are filled with hardness of heart. God is powerful and we are weak and powerless to do any good apart from God. Love of God guides one to love of neighbor and gives that love its highest dignity for it transcends the human and natural dimensions and lifts one to the supernatural virtue which will bring its own reward to us.
How might one practice this supernatural virtue? First it must be by practicing the love of preference in regards to our relationship to our Father. As He preferred your soul and my soul from all eternity so should we respond by a preferential love of the Holy Trinity. Second, this preferential love should express itself in the love of benevolence which is a fire within the heart to speak to others about the divine love affair. We ought to share our love of God with our neighbor.
Love of benevolence finds its perfection in the love of patience. We are able to endure the faults and foibles of our neighbor and remain steadfast in our desire to save souls.
Finally, we must persevere in this love til the day we die. God offers us three means to live in this Love and to grow in this Love. First, it is imperative that we meditate each and every day. Take the time to pull out the Holy Bible and read until God infuses a holy reflection in your heart. Then remain in that thought throughout the day and renew your meditation periodically. Next prepare yourself well for holy communion which may mean to examine your conscience and head to the confessional for there can be no serving of two masters. Finally, our prayer life is essential for the growth of divine love.
Recall often that the only gift we can take with us in our death is the loving disposition and acts which we have developed within our lives. The treasure of practicing the greatest of all commandments places order in our lives and reminds us that we are only creatures and that God is so merciful as to invite us to share His Divine Love forever. The depths of this reward is determined by the depth of our love life in this valley of tears.
Practice divine love and the consolation of eternity will be in your heart, mind and soul and you will be loved by God.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Richard Voigt