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Monday, November 5, 2012


Vatican City, 4 November 2012 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope commented on today's Gospel, which presents the teaching of Jesus on the “greatest commandment”, the commandment to love. This, he said, has two facets: love for God and love for neighbour. “The saints, all of whom we have recently celebrated on a single feast day, are precisely those who, trusting in the grace of God, endeavour to live according to this fundamental law. In effect, the commandment to love is put into practice fully by those who live in a profound relationship with God, just as children become capable of love beginning with a good relationship with their parents. ... Love is not a command – it is a gift, something which God enables us to know and experience, in order that like a seed, it might germinate and grow within us too, and develop within our lives”.

If the love of God lays down deep roots within a person, “he is able to love even those who do not merit it, just as God loves us. A father and a mother do not love their children only when they deserve it: they love them always, even though they let them know when they make mistakes. From God we learn to wish well, and never ill, upon others. We learn to look upon others not only with our own eyes, but also with the gaze of God, which is the gaze of Jesus Christ, ... which looks beyond appearances to man's deepest expectations: the desire to be listened to, to receive attention; in short, the desire for love. But this occurs also in reverse: by opening myself to others, accepting and reaching out to them, ... I open also myself to knowledge of God, to the knowledge that He exists and is good”.

Love for God and love for neighbour are “inseparable and have a reciprocal relationship. Jesus invented neither the one nor the other, but showed that they are, fundamentally, a single commandment. He did so not only through words, but above all by example: the very Person of Jesus Himself and His mystery incarnate the unity of love for God and neighbour, like the two arms of the Cross, vertical and horizontal. In the Eucharist He gives us this dual love, in giving Himself to us as, nourished by this bread, we love each other just as He loved us”.

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