Frassati Reflection: To Love Our Neighbor As Ourselves

“There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law?
How do you read it?’
He said in reply,
‘You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.’
He replied to him, ‘You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.’
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
‘And who is my neighbor?'”
—Luke 10:25–29

“Each of you knows that the foundation of our faith is charity. Without it, our religion would crumble. We will never be truly Catholic unless we conform our entire lives to the two commandments that are the essence of the Catholic faith: to love the Lord, our God, with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves…With charity, we sow the seeds of that true peace which only our faith in Jesus Christ can give us by making us all brothers and sisters. I know that this way is steep, and difficult, and strewn with thorns, while at first glance the other path seems easier, more pleasant, and more satisfying. But the fact is, if we could look into the hearts of those who follow the perverse paths of this world, we would see that they lack the serenity that comes to those who have faced a thousand difficulties and who have renounced material pleasure to follow God’s law.”
—Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati

el_bon_samarita_1838_de_pelegri_clave_i_roquerPier Giorgio Frassati, like the Good Samaritan, understood that true charity is uncomfortable. To Pier Giorgio, serving his neighbor meant reaching out to anyone in need of his help, even those who were in very different circumstances from himself. It meant pushing beyond social norms and seeing the humanity in others, seeing Jesus in them. He was not content to walk the easier, more pleasant path in life; instead, he chose the mountaintop. His path was certainly a difficult one, but he shows us through his example that it is worth the climb. It certainly would have been easier for the Samaritan to walk on by and pretend not to see the man in need, but he was willing to be inconvenienced in order to do what was right, to accept discomfort in order to serve his neighbor. Loving our neighbor as ourselves, uncomfortable though it may be, is the foundation of true peace. We will begin to see the fruits of our service in our own lives, but only in Heaven will our efforts be repaid. This means that we have to be willing to give until it hurts, without any expectation that those we serve will be able to repay us. The only way we can carry out such selfless love is by the grace of God, by the sustenance of the Eucharist, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we keep our own souls nourished, if we allow God’s love to fill our hearts to the point of overflowing, we can feed the starving souls we encounter along our earthly journey.

“Come, and your every sacrifice will be repaid in heaven, because Jesus Christ promises that everything we do for the poor in His name, we do for Him. You do not want to deny Christ this love, He whose infinite love for humanity gave Himself to us in the sacrament of the Eucharist, as our Comforter and the Bread of Life.”
—Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati

Image: Pelegrín Clavé y Roqué, El bon samarità / PD-US

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