The measure of perfect love

We have just heard in the Gospel how much our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loves ushe who is God with the Father, man with us, one of us but now at the Fathers right handyou have heard how much he loves us. He himself told us the measure of his love, and enjoined it upon us, too, when he said that his commandment was that we love one another (Jn 13:34). And lest we start wondering and excitedly questioning how much we have to love one another, how much love it might be that is the perfect measure of love that pleases Godthat is perfect, after all, than which there can be nothing greaterhe taught us when he said: Greater love than this no one has than that someone lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:12). He did what he taught; the Apostles did what they learned from him, and they preached that it was to be done by others. Let us also do it, because even if we are not what he is insofar as he created us, we are what he is because of what he became for our sakes. If he alone had done it, perhaps none of us would dare to imitate him; for he was man in such a way that he was also God. But because he was a man, the servants imitated their Lord and the disciples their Teacher, and they who preceded us in his family did it, our fathers, yes, but our fellow-servants, too. God would not have commanded us to do this if he judged it impossible for a human being to do it. Considering your weakness, do you fall short of the precept? Take comfort in the example. And if the example is also too much for you? Well, the one who gave the example is present and can help you. (Augustine, EnPs 56, 1; PL 36, 661)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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