In today’s Gospel from St. John, Jesus tells his disciples, “love one another as I love you.”
In other words, love others not because they are beautiful or smart. Love them not because they are kind or generous or noble. Love them not because they do nice things for you or because they like you or because they love you.
Love others just because they are. Just because they are loved into being by the same God who loves you into being. Just because they are made in the image of the same God in whose image you are created.
Love others with no expectation of return. Love them without counting the cost. Love them unconditionally. Wholeheartedly. Love them enough to lay down your life for them.
That sounds like a tall order. And if it were something I had to do on my own as a solitary act of the will, it seems impossibly difficult.
For me it seems possible only when I remember that I exist as a manifestation of God’s love. That I exist completely surrounded by and filled with God’s love. That I live in a sea of God’s love (the same sea of love in which everyone else lives) and that my love is simply a piece of God’s love.
When I remember that, then my real task is to open myself up to that love of God so that I can be a channel of that love to others.
When I remember that, “love one another as I love you” really means be what God created you to be. Be the manifestations of love you are.