Father Cantalamessa on Love of Neighbor
A Commentary by Pontifical Household Preacher
ROME, OCT. 23, 2005 (Zenit) - In his commentary on this Sunday's liturgical readings, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, talks about God's command to love one's neighbor.
* * *
You Shall Love Your Neighbor
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Adding the words "as yourself," Jesus has put a mirror in front of us to which we cannot lie; he has given us an infallible measure to discover if we do or do not love our neighbor. We know very well, in every circumstance, what it means to love ourselves, and what we would like others to do for us.
If we pay close attention, we notice that Jesus does not say: "What the other does to you, you do to him." This would still be the "lex talionis": "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
What he does say -- what you would like the other to do to you, you do to him (cf. Matthew 7:12) -- is very different.
Jesus considered love of neighbor as "his commandment," the one in which the whole law is summarized. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). Many identify the whole of Christianity with the precept of love of neighbor, and they are not wrong.
But we must try to go a bit beyond the surface of things. When one speaks of love of neighbor, one thinks immediately of charitable "deeds," of the things that must be done for our neighbor: give him to eat, to drink, visit him; in brief, to help our neighbor. But this is a result of love, it is not yet love. Benevolence comes before beneficence: Before doing good, one must want to do good.
Charity must be "without pretense," that is, sincere (literally, "without hypocrisy," Romans 12:9); one must love "with a pure heart" (1 Peter 1:22). One can, in fact, be charitable and give alms for many reasons that have nothing to do with love: to embellish oneself, to be regarded as a benefactor, to win paradise, and even to appease a bad conscience.
Much of our charity to Third World countries is not dictated by love, but by a bad conscience. We realize the scandalous difference that exists between us and them and we feel responsible in part for their misery. One can lack charity even when "being charitable!"
It would be a fatal error to compare heartfelt love and charitable deeds, or to take refuge in good interior dispositions toward others in order to find in this an excuse for our own lack of active and concrete charity.
If you come across a poor hungry man shivering with cold, said St. James, of what use is it if you say to him: "Poor you, go, warm up and eat something," but give him nothing of what he needs?
"Little children," adds St. John, "let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18). Therefore, it is not about denigrating external works of charity, but about ensuring that the latter are based on a genuine feeling of love and benevolence.
Heartfelt or interior charity is a charity we can all practice, it is universal. It is not a charity that some -- the rich and healthy -- can offer and others -- the poor and sick -- can only receive. All can give and receive it. Moreover, it is extremely concrete. It is a question of beginning to look with new eyes on the situations and people with whom we live. What eyes? It's simple: with the eyes with which we would like God to look at us -- eyes of forgiveness, of benevolence, of understanding, of pardon!
When this occurs, all relationships change. All motives for precaution and hostility that impeded loving a certain person vanish as by a miracle. And that person begins to seem to us what he really is: a poor creature who suffers because of his weaknesses and limitations, like you, like everyone.
It is as if the mask that men and things wear fell off and the person then seems to us what he really is.
[Italian original published in Famiglia Cristiana]
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Love, Neighbor, Cantalamessa, Love, God
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- International study shows stem cells can stop MS and relieve symptoms ...
- Bl. John of Parma: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, March 20, 2018
- Pope Francis explains a crucifix is not just for decoration
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, March 20, 2018
- Stem cell study provides new hope for MS patients
- 'Living Lent': Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 35
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 18th, 2018 HD
- The Earth is Dying: Human impact continues to shape the future of the planet HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education