Jesus rocked the boat quite a bit by identifying two commandments that sum up the Big Ten and supersede all the others in the Torah He knew so well. "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." Matthew 22: 37-40 NAB
It was very profound that a Jewish man well-versed in the numerous laws laid out in the Torah would say that there are two that mean more than all the rest. He shocked even His closest friends by following these two commandments even when doing so meant being condemned and publicly ridiculed, humiliated and brutally beaten, wrongly accused and crucified. Even today, God sometimes calls us to say and do things that require an unbelievable amount of faith, courage, love, trust, and strength, because we know they will bring judgment on us, that we will suffer from having to bear the disapproval of those closest to us, and that for a time, we may have to stand alone. By alone, I mean without family and friends, not without God.
Below is a prayer I wrote as one of the Lenten reflections the Richmond Diocese Young Adult Ministry e-mailed to people around the world to accompany the Readings 2 Kings 5:1-15ab; Luke 4:24-30
Lord, so often we seek the approval of our spouse, our family, our friends, our colleagues, and society, and are easily swayed by their opinions. Please help us have courage enough to turn to You when we need guidance, and put Your view of us, Your wishes for our future, and Your thoughts about our words and actions, above those of the people around us.
You alone know our hearts completely. You alone know what is ultimately best for us. Inspire us to spend more time listening to You so it is easier for us to separate Your will from our own and those of the people closest to us. Protect us from despair and disillusionment by arming us with the truth, the strength to do Your will, and the wisdom to submit everything we are and have to You.
Originally written and posted on my former blog March 11, 2008.