For the last few days, I’ve been working on this sketch. I thought I’d put it up today with a favorite quote from one of my friends.
I didn’t know it was the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus too until I checked the Catholic mass daily readings right before posting. Maybe that’s why this heart and this quote couldn’t leave me alone this week.
“The chief thing is to love.” This quote popped into my head during my work with the Spiritual Exercises this week. I was reflecting with readings at the start of Jesus’ ministry, and these few words kept coming back to me – words from author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The fuller quote says: “And yet how simple it is: in one day, in one hour everything could be arranged at once! The chief thing is to love others like yourself, that’s the chief thing, and that’s everything; nothing else is wanted — you will find out at once how to arrange it all.”
Such a simple declaration isn’t it? We are called first and foremost to love. It’s the most important thing we can do. It’s the thing that matters the most. After that, comes everything else.
Yet why can it sometimes feel like the most difficult ask of all?
Maybe it’s because the ask is to love others as we love ourselves. In the Gospels, Jesus doesn’t just say love others. He declares the commandment is to “love others as ourselves.” So maybe in order to love, we have to first figure out how to love ourselves exactly as we are. Then, and only then, can we shower that love on others too.
My prayer this morning is for all of us to see ourselves as God sees us. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a symbol of the magnanimous love God has for each of us – the love God is constantly showering on us whether we realize it or not… whether we accept it or not.
Let us take comfort in the fact that someone is loving us into existence everyday and use that as inspiration to love ourselves (and subsequently others) well.