Audi Israhel
Following another thread of a similar theme...

Every Saturday night at Compline we sing, in part, the following:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength" (Dt 6:5).

Thus the question has arisen: How can one be commanded to love another? Is mandated love real love? How can it be? Presumably something bad will happen if one does not heed the above mandate. Is ones love authentic if they're doing so only to fulfill an obligation?

Obviously there are reasons to love God aside from the above, nonetheless the question has been bugging me for some time.

"Mandated" love can become "real" love. First realize that love is not a feeling, it's a decision. Love means wanting what is good for the other person and doing good for them. Love is as St Paul described it patient, kind etc.  Love does NOT entice the other into acts that are mortally sinful to satisfy lustful desires. Love does NOT practice birth control because we're not ready for a family. Love does NOT procure abortions because we don't want, can't afford,etc God's will for us. Anyway, you get the idea.

Historically, I think arranged marriages within one's own religious and social cultures were probably much more stable, and more lasted til death did they part.  Of course folks didn't live as long in those days either.  No I don't have statistics to prove my assertions.
can it be understood as a promise?
Try this idea Credo. It has nothing to do with emotional love. After you receive "faith" from God one exercises his will to ascent.Therefore you love with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.  When one loves his brother he may dis-like him intensely, but with an ascent of will you love the other. Remember even pagans and sinners love their families.
Love is in the will, not the "feeling".
"If you love me, keep my commandments."  "Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for a friend." "Love your enemies". None of this is easy, but I'll bet while Jesus hung on that cross out of love for us, He wasn't having too many warm fuzzy feelings either. Lord Jesus help me love you more and more.

Protestants talk about a personal relationship with Jesus, and I think they have a good point.  As Catholics, we have the one true Church, the sacraments, Sacred Scripture and Tradition, and the Magisterium. We have many devotions and prayers. But how many of us have a personal awareness of God, in our daily lives and activities? How many of us recite our rosary by rote or just read along in or missals at Mass without really being aware of what we're saying or reading? Our we actually talking to God or Mary or the saint(s), or just reciting words? How many of us think of God in terms of The Supreme Being (which He is) rather than a loving Father, or the Person of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.  I did that for years, and my prayers seemed empty ,God seemed to be a universe away. It's not easy to do this (for me anyway). Distractions try to creep in and sometimes fighting distractions can become a distraction.
How many of us think of God in terms of The Supreme Being (which He is) rather than a loving Father, or the Person of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. It's not easy to make God a real Presence in one's life, but He will help us. "Lord help me worship You and love You as You deserve.  I can't do it alone I need your help." Do something nice for someone you can't abide, and tell Jesus you're doing it for Him. Even if it's just a smile. The more I do these things the easier they become. If I can remember when I have a few minutes praying the Jesus prayer makes me aware of Christ's presence.  I think that personalizing God in our lives  and being keenly aware of His presence is the first step away from "Mandated Love". If I can be aware of Him, I don't need to talk a lot, I can just shut up and listen.

Speaking of which, I've probably rambled on for too long. I just wanted to share some thoughts.
Hope it makes some sense.


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