“And one of them, a doctor of the law, asked Him, tempting Him: Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind” (Matthew 22:35-37).
It is impossible for a Christian to read the New Testament without being overwhelmed by one repeated command — he must love and honor and praise God above all else. He learns that the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ, established the perfect means by which we in time may love Him in eternity. Observance of this commandment, therefore, should be the absolute of every Christian.
Do we find this to be true, however; does everyone who calls himself Christian hold this first commandment to be the greatest in the law? Hardly. In our day, the absolute has become an obligationless and indefinite “love” for a cosmic and impersonal entity — humanity. The average American now feels that he has satisfied all obligations to his Creator when he has contributed ten dollars to the Red Cross, an equal amount to the Community Chest and served on the Civic Slum Clearance Committee.
By having allowed the present day humanitarianism to run its godless course, the tolerant Catholic now discovers that “service to man” includes such great works of love as euthanasia, birth control, divorce and godless education. Too late comes the realization that love of man without love of God leads to the most un-Christian of perversities. Too late comes the realization that He, who out of love made man, must first be loved; that only in loving Him are we able to love one another.
(This article was originally published in From the Housetops, Volume III, No.1, September, 1948.)