If we truly are in love, we would like to know how much love we are giving and whether the love we have is true love or is just an appearance of it. We know very well that we are fond of saying we love God and others, and yet on closer scrutiny, it’s really not love that we are giving.
We already are told that true love is a love without measure. It means that we just have to give ourselves without ever saying enough.
True love goes all the way to the extent of giving our very own life to the beloved. As Christ himself said: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn15,13)
That is the subjective side of love which is already very commendable. But we have to realize that even if we give ourselves completely to our beloved, we may still end up not truly loving. We need to realize that love has its objective nature. And that nature is what Christ told us about it.
He told us that the main object of our love should be God himself. And because of him, we ought to love everybody else, since it is in the very nature of God to love all his creation, to man especially.
The objective nature of love is for us to love God by following his commandments. Christ himself said as much: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jn 14,15) St. John the apostle and evangelist, in his second letter, put it more bluntly when he said: “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” (1,6)
So, if we comply with both the subjective and objective nature of love, then we can say that we are truly loving. Now the next question is to find out how great that love is in us.
For this, all we have to do is to see how Christ loves both the Father and us, since he is the pattern of our humanity, the savior of our damaged humanity. In fact, he summarized all the commandments of God by telling us the new commandment, which is to love one another as he himself has loved us. (cfr. Jn 13,34)
And how did Christ love us and how does he continue to love us? We all know that being God, he became man just to identify himself with all of us, and went all the way to empty himself by dying on the cross. He did all that because it was and continues to be the will of the Father. All the pain and suffering involved has been overcome out of love.
This is the ultimate of love that we have to aim at. This we can only do if we truly identify ourselves with Christ. There’s no way we can have that kind of love unless we are vitally identified with Christ. It’s a love that is full of compassion and mercy, and is fully given even if not reciprocated.
More than that, the love Christ is showing us and is commanding us to have is one where Christ himself continues to be with us in the Holy Spirit through the Church, through the sacraments, etc.
That is the greatness of love meant for us!*