Loving my neighbor – first

Then, to love one’s neighbor as oneself. (Rule of Benedict 4.2)

HOMELESS (2014) ...item 3.. Local Organization...

HOMELESS (2014) Homeless Point-In-Time Count (Photo credit: marsmet521)

One speaker skimmed past”love your neighbor,” dwelling on “loving yourself better.” Another said love of self took priority over love of others.

I hoped they were wrong.

Charles Spurgeon broke listeners’ hearts with descriptions of needy people turned aside for practical reasons, or hurt by meager assistance bundled with painful disapproval.  Christians’ love flows more freely after compunction opens their hearts.

“Follow my Rule and God’s commands,” St Benedict says, “and your hearts will expand with the inexpressible delight of love.” Perhaps he knew that when we pour out concern and compassion on others, our hearts can hold more love.


Tooling Through Lent is a series of brief reflections on Chapter 4 of the Rule of BenedictThe Tools for Good Works.

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About Sister Edith

Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota
This entry was posted in Benedictine, Lent and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Loving my neighbor – first

  1. Michael Snow says:

    “. . . A prime example of this worldly confusion concerns
    self-love. We have been told that this is a command rather
    than a condition. The Zeitgeist blew notions of this our way
    from the lips of popular psychologists and legions of their
    disciples.2 Suddenly, many Christians saw something in
    Scripture that no previous generation had seen. (Perhaps
    those saints who preceded us did not have enough sand in
    their eyes.) Soon, preachers in the pulpit and on the radio
    extolled the virtues of self-love. In fact, many said that Christ
    commanded it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    But if we love God with all our heart, this supposition
    that there is a commandment to love ourselves will not ring
    true. And we find no such interpretation in standard commentaries.
    Only one command stands here: Love your
    22
    Love, Prayer and Forgiveness
    neighbor. How? “. . . equally with oneself.”3
    This command recognizes that we live to our own selfinterest.
    As Pascal noted, “The nature of self-love and of this
    human Ego is to love self only and consider self only.”4
    –from book reviewed here: http://zmcarter.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/book-review-love-prayer-and-forgiveness-when-basics-become-heresies/

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