Love God With All Your Heart, Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
The Lord himself comes, the Teacher of love, full of love, shortening the word upon the earth, as was foretold of him. He shows that the Law and the Prophets depend on the two precepts of love. What those two commandments are, brethren, recall with me. They ought to be familiar, and not come to mind just when they are mentioned by us rather, they should never be blotted out from your hearts. Always, at all times, reflect that you must love God and your neighbor: God with all your heart and with all your soul, your neighbor as yourself.
At all times these must be pondered, they must be meditated and retained they must be practiced and fulfilled. The love of God comes first in the order of command, but the love of neighbor first in the order of action. The man who would teach you this love in two commandments should not commend to you first your neighbor and then God, but first God and then your neighbor.
You do not yet see God, but by loving your neighbor you gain sight of God; by loving your neighbor you purify your eye for seeing God, as John says clearly: If you do not love the brother whom you see, how will you be able to love God whom you do not see?
You are told: love God. If you say to me, "Show me the one I am to love," what shall I answer, except what John himself says: No one has ever seen God ? Do not think that you are altogether unsuited to seeing God -- no, for John states: God is love, and he who dwells in love is dwelling in God. Love your neighbor therefore, and observe the source of that love in you. There, as best you can, you will see God.
So then, begin to love your neighbor. Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; if you see the naked, cover him, and do not despise the servants of your kinfolk.
If you do this, what will you obtain? Then shall your light break forth like the morning. Your light is your God; to you he is the morning light because he will come to you after the night of the world; he neither rises nor sets because he abides always.
By loving your neighbor and being concerned about your neighbor, you make progress on your journey. Where is your journey, if not to the Lord God, to him whom we must love with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind? We have not yet reached the Lord, but we have our neighbor with us. So then, support him with whom you are traveling so that you may come to him with whom you love to dwell.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
1 John 3:23-24; 4:7-21
Augustine was born in north Africa to a pagan Roman father and a Christian Berber mother. He spent his youth as a true pagan and in his Confessions, describes his time in a heretical sect in Rome and how he came to Christ by the grace of God and the preaching of Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him in 386. Having entered fully into the way of Christ, Augustine returned to Africa to become bishop of Hippo, and is recognized as one of the early Church's greatest theologians.
1 John 3:23-24; 4:7-21