Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is Hatred let me sow Love; where there is Injury, Pardon; where there is Doubt, Faith; where there is Despair, Hope; where there is Darkness, Light. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be Consoled, as to Console; not so much to be Understood as to Understand; to be Loved as to Love. St. Francis
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31.
I was the third born child, second boy, raised with three bothers and three sisters. One of the hardest lessons I needed to learn was if I would treat my brothers or sisters as I would like to be treated then I would get the attention I desired. Well you know how that went! Most people from the outside would say that ours was a loving family—no major issues or happenings for which I am thankful today. That was on the outside—inside it was as normal as nature can make it!
The lesson of loving others leading to that love coming back had many starts and stops for me and probably has for most. It was hard for me to be happy for something my siblings received or achieved, even though because they were either older or younger it was well deserved and appropriate.
It is difficult to lead with love. Our need to be loved is so strong. Our Lord, with seven words, gives us the key really to all of life— “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Seeking to be loved starts with loving ourselves, miss this step and nothing turns out well.
When we strive to love with our families, our congregation, our community our nation hope thrives. And not only does hope thrive, but the very thing we seek from birth—to be loved—happens. Never perfectly but sufficiently.
Where can you lead with love today? Where do you need to love and accept yourself?
Prayer: O Lord, help me to accept myself as fully as you love me. Amen.
Tomorrow: Giving Equals Receiving