Thought of the day
10/25/2020 7:09:56 AM

"Which commandment in the law is the greatest?"


Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)

Jesuit, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

The Ascent of the Mind to God, 1 (trans. Breviary 17/09)

"Which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

O Lord, what is it that you require of your servants? “Take my yoke upon you”, you say. And what sort of yoke is this? “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” Now who would not willingly bear a yoke that does not press down but gives strength; a burden that does not weigh heavily but refreshes? As you rightly added: “And you will find rest” (Mt 11:29). And what is this yoke of yours that does not tire but gives rest? It is the first and greatest of the commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart.” What could be easier, better or more agreeable than to love the goodness, beauty and love that is most perfectly yours, O Lord my God? Do you not offer a reward to those who keep the com­mandments, which are "more desirable than a heap of gold and sweeter than honey from the comb"? (Ps 19[18]:11) So in every way you offer a very ample reward, as James the apostle says: "The Lord has prepared the crown of life for those who love him" (Jas 1:12) (…) And Paul quotes these words from Isaiah: "No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him" (1Cor 2:9). That first and great commandment is not only profitable for the man who keeps it or for God who commands it: the other commandments of God also make perfect him who obeys them, improve him, instruct him and make him illustrious; in a word, they make him good and holy. If you understand this, realize that you have been created for the glory of God and for your own eternal salvation; this is your end, this is the object of your soul and the treasure of your heart. You will be blessed if you reach this goal, but miserable if you are cut off from it.