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Two Things

Since love is what teaches us what we most need to know, Teresa asks us to make sure that we accomplish two things in our lives.  Only two. In fact, she says that if we accomplish these two things, everything else in our lives falls into place—especially as we realize that so much of what worries and preoccupies us is not worthy our time or attention.  Love is to be our focus.  Life-giving love.  

The Lord asks of us only two things: love of God and love of our neighbor.  These are what we must work for.  By keeping them with perfection, we do God’s will and so will be united with God.  

As everyone knows, we cannot give what we do not already have.  But we can always strive to improve in love, and we can ask for the help that we need if we are to be instruments of a love that is stronger than we are.  Teresa has already told us to go gently, saying "We cannot recollect ourselves by force but only by gentleness, if our recollection is going to be continual." The same is true with love. All we can do is turn ourselves continually toward a loving intention, asking for God’s help in fulfilling our intent to love. Then we let our love take the forms that God Godself guides and sustains. Sometimes—often—this process will surprise us. That is the stirring, transformative power of love that we are graced to know.

We cannot know whether or not we love God, although there are strong indications for recognizing that we do love God; but we can know whether or not we love our neighbor.  And be certain that the more advanced you see you are in love for your neighbor the more advanced you will be in the love of God, for the love God has for us is so great that to repay us for our love of neighbor God will in a thousand ways increase the love we have for God.  I cannot doubt this.  


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