Pause

Love is a universal spiritual gift. God gives each person the capacity to love others deeply, truly, honestly, and with no strings attached. While one’s calling can be difficult to understand sometimes, we know God calls us to share God’s love with others.

What does it mean to show others love or to respond to others with love?

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Listen

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant.

1 Corinthians 13:4

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Think

Many products are sold by encouraging us to feel envy for what others own or how they look. Many advertisers believe that once we feel envious, we will be willing to buy, borrow, or fake our way to having what others have. Starting a new school year is a time when many around us seem to have new things, new friends, or new looks. Envy can enter our hearts when we compare ourselves to other people, and can lead to feelings of jealousy, inferiority, or even emptiness.

To truly love, we must guard our hearts against envy; it always ends in loneliness and unhappiness. Envy, not love, makes us compete against others and strive after material things or fake personalities. It separates us from God and from other people. St. Thomas Aquinas described envy as “sorrow at another’s good.” As the school year begins, we want feelings of freedom and joy, not jealousy and sorrow. Envy pulls us away from others and God, but kindness pulls us closer.

Patricia Lyons

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Pray

Loving God, remind me of the blessing you have showered into my life. Help me to see the abundance of gifts I have so that I do not envy the possessions of others. Turn my envy of what I do not have into gratefulness for what you have given. Amen.

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Go

Life together means we live in community with all types of people. This is not an easy task, and God understands it is not easy for us. Yet we are still asked by God to be people with open arms, willing to hug, love, and accept the dirtiest, weirdest, poorest, richest, sickest, meanest people. Life together, with all the different types of people in the world, is messy and interesting.

God wants us to experience life together, not life separated. Be alert! Be open!

Patricia Lyons

Patricia Lyons currently teaches religion and ethics at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes High School, in Alexandria, Virginia, and also teaches adults at Virginia Theological Seminary.

The Old Rugged Cross

Clay Mottley

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