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.
When the Bible talks about love it primarily means a love that keeps on loving, it means commitment. We may have warm feelings of gratitude to God when we consider all that God has done for us, but it is not warm feelings that Jesus is demanding of us. It is stubborn, unwavering commitment. It follows then that to love one another, including our enemies, doesn’t mean we must feel affection for them, rather it means a commitment on our part to take their needs seriously, just as God committed to taking our needs seriously. This kind of love doesn’t come naturally. To love means deliberately to turn toward another person and their needs, to give away something of ourselves to someone else without thinking of what we will get in return. This kind of love/commitment is self-sacrificing. It is putting the other person first, whether it is God or our neighbor.
Love one another as I have loved you.
Who are those outside the circle of your love? What would commitment to their needs require of you? Who are in the circle of your love? Do you have this sort of commitment to them?
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He 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 greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1 John 4:11
He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
St. Augustine of Hippo
What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.
St. Basil the Great
We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more who are dying for a little love. Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread love everywhere you go.”
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
As for what concerns our relations with our fellow men, the anguish in our neighbor’s soul must break all precept. All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself, because God is love.
To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.