Our God: The One and Only Lord

Love for God does not consist in giving Him merely bits and pieces of our hearts. Our lives must be fully engaged in the service of the one and only Lord.

Newsroom (02/11/2021 08:30, Gaudium Press ) This Sunday’s liturgy focuses our attention on the first and greatest Divine Commandment, given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Book of Deuteronomy gathers the words of God addressed to the Chosen People on their way to the land where “milk and honey” flow. These words come through His Prophet, Moses, to remind them of the divine precept to love God with “all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Deut 6:5). Moses well knew the hardness of heart of that people; the evidence of the events that had taken place during the years of wandering in the desert showed how easily they could stray from the truth by practicing pagan cults and worshipping gods built by human hands: ‘gods’ which they could neither see nor hear (cf. Dt 4:28). Therefore he stresses: “The Lord our God is the only Lord”.

It could be said that the influence of “human respect” in the numerous surrounding races – for the Chosen Nation was the only one who worshipped one God – was the main reason that led them to practice idolatrous cults. However, there was a much deeper reason behind this transgression of the Eternal Law, which was the law of “loving God above all things”.

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Love for God and neighbour

The Gospel confirms the words once spoken by Moses: a teacher of the law comes before Our Lord to ask Him a question about the law, which would have put Him to the test (cf. Mt 22:35b). We can suppose that being a “Doctor of the Law”, he should know the divine Decalogue perfectly and, consequently, the norms of conduct of the law. One may therefore question his intention, whether he was acting in bad spirit – out of competition, perhaps – or merely desiring to prove the extent of his knowledge.[1]

What is the first of all the Commandments?”, asked the teacher of the law. And Jesus answered:

“The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk 12: 28b-30).

The purpose of understanding is to know God as well as possible, since, as St. Thomas teaches, this understanding is the power that enables us to know the truth[2] and, consequently, it leads our reason to strengthen our faith, causing us to love him “with all our strength”. But how can we love Him with all our hearts?  How can I know if I truly love Him with all my soul?

One of the signs of authentic love for God is given to us by the Divine Master:

“You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12:31).

This love will never be true if it is not unfolded towards our neighbour: “He who does not love his brother, whom he sees, is incapable of loving God, whom he does not see” (1 Jn 4:20). This love is not the fruit of pride, as if for self-interest or sentimentality, but is in imitation of Our Lord: “As I have loved you” (Jn 13:34). That is, to love one’s neighbour for love of God with a view to the sanctification of that neighbour.

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Hearts aflame with love for God

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Divine Law is very clear: for man, there is “only one Lord“. It is God who created us, giving us our being, with its qualities and gifts, and above all making us sharers in His intimate fellowship: our souls became inhabited by the Blessed Trinity on the day of our Baptism. Our reason for living is this: our thoughts, our actions, and our hearts must be centered entirely in Him. For if there is only one Lord, we cannot allow there to be another besides Him, and therefore we cannot allow our love to be “divided“, which would cause us to contaminate our love for God with our love for the world.

How often does attachment to money, to honour, to a bad friendship, to a vice, and so many other errors make us abandon love for God? The history of the Chosen People serves well as an example to those who divide their hearts and choose other lords for themselves.

By Guilherme Motta

[1] TUYA, Manuel de. Commented Bible. Evangelios. Madrid: BAC, 1964, v. 5, p. 490.

[2] SAINT THOMAS DE AQUINO. Summa Theologica. II-II, q. 2, a. 1; a. 3.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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