How we can love our neighbor even though they’re not relatives

December 28, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 426
By Venerable Louis of Granada

You will doubtless urge that you cannot feel such affection for one who is a stranger to you. But you should not regard your neighbor as a stranger. Behold in him rather the image of God, the work of His divine hands, and a living member of Christ. [Rom. xii. 5.]

Hence St. Paul tells us that when we sin against our neighbor we sin against Christ. [1 Cor. viii. 12.] Look on your neighbor, therefore, not as a man but as Christ Himself, or one of His living members; for though he is not so in body, he is truly so by participation in the spirit of Christ, and by the reward which is promised to us, for Christ assures us that He will consider as done to Himself all that we do to our neighbor.

Think of the affection which ties of blood establish between creatures, and blush to let nature influence you more powerfully than grace.

You will doubtless urge that your relatives are descended with you from the same ancestor, and that the same blood flows in your veins.

Remember, however, that there are closer and stronger bonds uniting us as brethren in Christ. In God we have one Father; in the Church one mother; and in Jesus Christ one Lord and Saviour.

Our faith springs from the same source which enlightens all Christians and distinguishes them from the rest of men.

The object of our hope is the same kingdom, where we shall have but one heart and one soul.

Baptism has made us children of the same Father, brothers and heirs of the same inheritance.

Our souls are nourished with the same Food, the adorable Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who makes us one with Himself.

Finally, we are united in a participation of the same Holy Spirit, Who dwells in us by faith alone or by the union of faith and grace, communicating to us life and strength.

Behold the union which exists between the members of the same body, however diverse their functions, because they are animated by one soul! How much greater should be the union between the faithful who are animated by the same Divine Spirit, the Holy Ghost Himself!

But, above all, ever keep before your eyes the incomparable example of our Saviour’s love for us.

Why did He love us with so much tenderness, devotion, and generosity, if not to encourage us by His example, and oblige us by His benefits faithfully to fulfil the precept which He has imposed upon us?

“A new commandment I give unto you,” were His parting words to His Apostles on the night before He suffered; “That you love one another, as I have loved you.” [St. John xiii. 34.]

Having treated this subject at greater length in a work on “Prayer and Meditation,” I would refer the reader to it for a more complete development of this virtue.

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