Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
He would say that he fell in love with her at first sight, but everyone knows that is not possible. He was enamored at first sight, but he did grow to love her very deeply over time. He knew that she had children, but she was clear about not introducing him to them until their relationship had reached a certain point. It was not until he had fallen head-over-heels for her that he finally met the boys. They were rambunctious, to say the least, and he found himself wondering whether this could work. When he doubted whether he could love those boys as a father should, he only had to think of the love he had for her. He loved her, and they were hers, so he could not help but love them, too.
The two commandments which sum up the law fall in a hierarchy, albeit a short one. The command to love the Lord with everything we have comes first, and there is a very good reason for that. Some of the people He created will be difficult for us to love, and this includes members of the Church. We are instructed to treat everyone at least as well as we treat ourselves, and that is not easy when the recipient of our love does not seem to deserve it. For this reason, our love for others must be anchored in our love for the Father. We love others not only because He wants us to but because He loves them already. If He, being so great and holy, can love the most unlovable, then we have no excuse.
Part of loving someone is understanding that person deeply. Love gives us the desire to know others better, to learn as much of them as we can. As we fall in love with God more and more, we start to see more clearly his compassion and grace to love us. We say, “if He can love them, then I can love them.” We also say, “if He can love me, then I can love them.” Our love will grow to have the character of his love as we get closer and closer to him, and that is necessary for us to be as freely loving as He commands us to be. Father, draw us closer in love with You, and give us the capacity to love as graciously as You have loved us.