God our Father wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and showers us with His good gifts. Our Lord tells us that "if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" And then He adds what has come to be known as the Golden Rule: "Therefore all that you wish men to do to you, even so do you also to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:11,12).
St. Augustine comments: "All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments", love of God and love of neighbor. He says that just as we require two feet to walk, so we must have the love of God and love of neighbor if we are to enter into the presence of God.
We are commanded to love those who love us. We must love Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has done more for us than any other person, paying for it with His life. And from His seat at the right hand of the Father He continues to do good to us. Our dependence on Him is so complete that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Jesus Christ should be first on every list. We have not seen Him, but we know Who He is. We know His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and His Foster Father, St. Joseph. We know where He was born, how He lived, and especially how He died, rose again, and ascended to the Father, and that He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. In loving Him we love also the Father and the Holy Ghost. Our love for God is our ticket to the Heavenly Banquet. But most are too immersed in this sinful and sensual world to recognize their debt to the Lamb of God. They will go their way, and their place at the Banquet will be taken by "the poor, and the crippled, and the blind, and the lame" (Luke 14:21).
Next to Our Lord we ought to love His Mother, "blessed among women" (Luke 1:42), who at the foot of the Cross of her Son became the "mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). After her life on this earth she did not cease to be our Mother but prays for us and goes into battle for us against the Dragon, the devil, the ultimate loser. God had told the ancient serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman" (Genesis 3:15). And Mary, "by her humility and from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception" has already crushed his proud head (Exorcism prayer). Those who truly love our Mother Mary are already destined for Heaven.
If we love Mary we will love the Church. Mother Church with her age old wisdom has given us supernatural life through Baptism and nourished us with the Bread of Life, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for us every day, and ministering to us with all seven of her Sacraments. She has provided us with saints and martyrs, Fathers and Doctors of the Church, priests, pastors, religious sisters and brothers, and teachers. She recommends us to our Guardian Angels, St. Michael and all the heavenly hosts of Angels who watch over us, influence us for the good, and protect us from evil:
"No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His angels He has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone" (Psalm 90:10-12).
But now Mother Church seems old and feeble, her head bowed in shame and sorrow, her life slipping away as her enemies oppress her. Many have abandoned her to her fate, their faith stolen from them by the ecumenists and Judaizers. But like Jerusalem of old she is not defeated: "Much have they oppressed me from my youth, let Israel say, much have they oppressed me from my youth; yet they have not prevailed against me. Upon my back the plowers plowed; long did they make their furrows. But the just Lord has severed the cords of the wicked" (Psalm 128:1-4). In our fidelity to our stricken Mother Church we shall find the road that leads to life.
Some people think they have few or even no friends. But we have a long list of those who love us and to whom we owe love and gratitude. Our parents have given us life and cared for us and educated us so that we could make our way in this world. Even then they follow us with their prayers and don't even forget us when they go to Heaven. We have our wives, our husbands, our children, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives, plus loyal friends, all of whom are obliged to love us, and we to love them.
Now comes the hard part. We are also commanded to love our enemies. Our salvation depends on it. Our Savior says: "You have heard that it was said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and shalt hate thy enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you, so that you may be children of your Father in heavenů For if you love those that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the publicans do that? And if you salute your brethren only, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do that? You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:43-45a;46-48).
Why should we love our enemies? Our Lord provides us with a motive, one that we ignore to our peril - "so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven." The implication is that if we do not love our enemies we cannot claim God as our Father. Those who love their enemies have a place reserved for them in Heaven. St. John also makes this clear in his first Epistle:
"Do not be surprised if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him"(1 John 3:13-15).
We find the strength to forgive our enemies in the Holy Eucharist, our Bread of Life, through which we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. The One who said upon the Cross, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do," will draw us to Himself and make our hearts like unto His Sacred Heart. "In this we have come to know His love, that He laid down His life for us: and we likewise ought to lay down our life for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). Without the Sacrament of Love the world will continue to sink into a pit of hate and bitterness, destroying itself in the process. But those who can pray with sincerity, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," will find their names written in Heaven, and will live in the presence of the Lord while endless ages unfold.