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As Christians, we talk a lot about loving others as Jesus showed us to love. In fact, we even designate a special word for that particular kind of Christian love (caritas), which is loosely translated as “charity”. Through charity, we love people we don’t know or maybe even don’t like, but we do it because Jesus told us to do it. It’s the Christian thing to do.
But Jesus also told us to love someone else, and that the love with which we are to love that someone else is to be first and foremost of all our loves, including caritas. In fact, the love that Jesus told us about is so crucial and so absolutely necessary that God made it the very first Commandment, specifying that we are to love him with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength. This is not an optional love, like charity, that we can turn on and off at whim or put into effect only when the opportunity arises. Loving God is a Commandment, and not just any Commandment – the first one on the list, and the one that Jesus pointed out as being the most important. (more…)