MISAPPLYING THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS

 How common it is to hear glowing talks about the second commandment and the doing of good works. How seldom do we hear a talk about the first commandment, loving God with our whole heart, soul, and mind.   Many homilies, lectures, retreats, and books urge Christians to focus their lives on doing good works. If the Lord is mentioned at all it’s often the equivalent of a glorified footnote.

 It has been our experience that those who begin with the second commandment, seldom, if ever, get back to the First. But those who sincerely embrace the First will find themselves overflowing into the Second.

 Life in the 60’s and 70’s is a case in point.   Priests and religious broke loose from their parishes and convents to do “good works” all over the place. They cut back or abandoned their prayer life to do what they said was “more important.” Huge numbers left the priesthood and religious life to work “more actively” in their projects. Soon, most of them found themselves job-hunting after their projects failed.   Another demonic triumph.

 We continue to see this deception of Satan eating away at lives. By their actions, some Christians seem to say, “There is not enough time to do both—spend quality time with the Lord and also do good works—so a choice must be made.   I prefer to do good works.” And having been terribly misled, they add, “After all, the two commandments are one and the same.”

 They are not the same!