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How to love God - 1

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6.5

In a long treatise, Simone Weil explores what loving God entails. Working on the assumption that one must first meet the object of one's love and that, in regard to God that will only happen on Christ's return or when we die (whichever is first), Weil insists that our love for God can only be provisional. Yet she further contends that there are opportunities in the world today to nurture this love, which she calls Forms of the Implicit Love God.

The first of these occurs as the corollary of The Shema, God's instruction to Israel through Moses, which Jesus repeats when asked to summarise Jewish religious law: Love God with heart, soul, mind and strength - and your neighbour as yourself. Through his Parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus redefines "neighbour" as "those who need our help" and then he identifies himself with the needy so that helping them amounts to helping him.

Because love must be freely given and received, Weil insists that there must be equality in any relationship for love to be exchanged. Where one party is subordinated they lose their freedom and, in terms of the relationship, become sub-human. To restore the equality necessary for love to be exchanged, the dominant party must relinquish their status, which is what God does in coming to earth as a mere human - in order to love and be loved.

Between humans a similar re-balancing happens when charity is given anonymously/ secretly. For expressions of love to be genuine, they must not be forced nor must any burden of obligation be laid on the recipient. Jesus lays aside his glory in order to love us. He identifies with the most destitute in order to that we should approach them with appropriate reverence and thereby establish the equality which enables us to love one another.



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