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In this Sunday's beautiful Gospel, Jesus leaves us the great commandment at the Last Supper on the night before he died. There he asked us to 'Love one another as I have loved you'. This is what his whole life was about. Here was the meaning of everything - that we love God and loved everything and everyone in his name. In his first encyclical as pope, Benedict XVI expanded on the Gospel teaching that 'God is Love...Deus caritas est'. Here is an extract from the document that connects love of God with love of our neighbour.

'Love of neighbour is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend. Going beyond exterior appearances, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. This I can offer them not only through the organizations intended for such purposes, accepting it perhaps as a political necessity. Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave....Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me... Love grows through love. Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a “we” which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28). Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas, 18.


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