The Commandment!

John 15:12
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Maundy Thursday comes from “Mandatum” or “Commandment” Thursday.  It is called so because of today’s verse.  The curious thing about the commandments of God is that they are so simple and so hard.  If God appeared to us sensibly in a blazing vision, we would be willing, before that awesome glory, to perform Seven Herculean Feats (or at least to try).  But when God really was present to us in sensible form, He did not ask us to do any of that.  He told us — commanded us — to “love one another as I have loved you.”  That sounds easy…till we try it.  Then we discover the truth: it’s the hardest thing in the world.  For love means death, self-death.  And we don’t want to die.  And so, we are thrown back on the need for help, for there is no getting around this commandment.  We must love as Christ loves or perish.  It’s that simple.  And the only way to do that is to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit so that we can obey it.  We cannot do it on our own.  Today, ask the Spirit to make you able to love as Christ loves.  He is powerful and able to make you able.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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