Friday, March 4, 2016

Reflection: Mark 12:28-34

Friday of the Third Week of Lent  - Mark 12:28-34

Today a Scribe approached Jesus and asked him: “What is the first of all the commandments?” Naturally, Jesus replied what he had learned as a small child: “The Lord our God is Lord alone” and we are to “love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, and mind.”  Jesus goes on to say, “The second is this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

I assume these words are very familiar to you.  For most of us, these words were etched on our minds and hearts at a very young age.  Hopefully, this continues to be true today. However, these words are so very familiar to us that we may not even “hear” them!  In essence, Jesus asks only two things of us: to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
The challenge in this statement may be our ability to love ourselves as well as we love our neighbor. Most often I find it easier to love and accept another person as they are. However, I often struggle to love myself as I am.  Perhaps I am alone in that.  However, I believe that many, if not most of us, struggle to love and accept ourselves as we are.  It often becomes automatic to criticize ourselves. Take a moment and list how you criticize yourself.  About what do you tend to criticize yourself: looks, choices, abilities, intelligence, or something else?

Today I invite you to examine the many ways you strive to love your neighbor, then examine the ways you love yourself.  Are you as loving and understanding with yourself as you are with your neighbor?  If not, I invite you to be loving, accepting, and gentle with yourself today. You may find out that you will have a much better day when you maintain a loving stance toward yourself.  Try it!  You may find out not only that you like it, you also may realize that loving yourself makes life more grace-filled and peaceful.  What a wonderful gift to give yourself as well as to others!

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