I was playing my homemade Catholic Jeopardy with the Faith Formation class last night and I asked. "What is the 2nd greatest commandment". The kids were all like, "umm obey your parents", "Don't swear", etc... and I just said. "Love your neighbor". Well, just then the Director of Religious Ed. walks in and she just wanted to make sure I added the ..."as yourself" part. I didn't think that was terribly important, she said it was important because teenagers have a hard time seeing themselves as someone loveable.

So, I've got a notion that the following three precious words of Jesus are pretty much the same thing:

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

(Matt 7:12 NABRE)

love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another

(John 13:34 NABRE)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

(Mark 12:31 NABRE)

What I want to know is:

  1. Is is the commandment itself just to love or is the description of how to love wrapped up in the commandment.
  2. Do we love each other as Jesus loves us and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
  3. Does 'Do Unto' mean 'Love in this way'
  4. If not how does 'Do unto others' fit into the way we're supposed to treat each other?
  5. How could I phrase what I meant to say so it encapsulates all three aspects of how we're supposed to love and treat each other and ourselves?

    I think Pope John Paul II (before he was Pope) wrote in Love and Responsibility something about love your neighbor being more than just 'do unto others', but I'm not sure how. That might be a good starting point though.

Since this question is about love, and love is eternal, I'd gladly accept any answer that makes sense from any perspective.

  • FWIW, I'm with your Dir. of Religious Ed. I've never heard this as any church's official doctrine, but I've always privately taken the three parts of the Greatest Commandments as corresponding to the Trinity. Love God (the Father) and love your neighbor (the Holy Spirit, when Christians gather together) as yourself (Jesus, the Way to a personal relationship with God). Jan 6 '15 at 17:07
  • Would this question be considered answerable if it requested that all answers utilize Catholic sources? Jan 6 '15 at 19:38

I will try to answer this, but how to love is shown in various parts of the NT, but I think the best description of what is not love is

1 Cor 13

You will find that love is not a feeling, but an action. For example, Jesus ordered that we love one another.

JOHN 13:34 NKJ 34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

If it was a feeling you can't command people to feel a certain way, but you can command that they act a certain way.

So, when we are ordered to love our neighbor, and we know from the story of the Good Samaritan that everyone is our neighbor, and Jesus talked about how we should love our enemies:

Matt 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

So, love is more encompassing that just feeling or pretending to love by being nice to others.

So, perhaps something along the lines of:

Love everyone, especially those that hate you, where you are willing to die for them, just as Jesus was willing to die for us, but start with loving yourself, as Jesus loved us enough to die for each of us.

What I am trying to show is that Jesus valued us enough to die, so we should reciprocate by loving ourself, as, if we can't love ourselves, then how can we truly love anyone else. The Holy Spirit isn't going to hang out in a place that is filled with hate, and if you hate yourself, then that is not a hospitable home for the Holy Spirit.

  • Did Jesus say especially those who hate you? Maybe love everyone and free to love those who love you more.
    – user4951
    Nov 17 '11 at 6:28
  • @Jim Thio - King James 2000: But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; Nov 19 '11 at 13:43
  • It depends on the translation. Nov 19 '11 at 13:44
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    @JimThio - You don't pray for either side to win, but for God's will to be done, and if possible protect our troops, but praying that the terrorists are killed is wrong, as Jesus died for them as he died for us. Pray always that we are available to do God's will, and that we accept it, though we may feel it is wrong, much as Jonah didn't want to go to Ninevah because he wanted them to be destroyed, and if he went they would repent. he didn't want to help God, but in the end he agreed to. Nov 21 '11 at 3:47
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    @JimThio - Why are they enemies? It may be that we need to be more Christ-like and find a way to love them. It is easy to hate, love is harder. Nov 21 '11 at 10:27

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