We have reached the end of our study book!!! Paula and I have been discussing in our blogs this book by Joan Chittister and I got the final chapter “The Second Law of Love”. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
I liked this chapter because it was pretty succinct and to the point for me and a great way to end the book. This commandment seems pretty direct, doesn’t it?? No flowery words or long list of things to do. BUT I do believe it may be one of the hardest for me to put into practice. While doing for others comes naturally to me and to a majority of the world the heart of this commandment is that we must love ourselves and sometimes that just does not happen. Perhaps it is because of what Chittister says that to do this “means that we must also accept in ourselves what there is about us that we don’t like, or fear, or devalue.” I think she hit the nail on the head there. “The second great commandment is a warning to us all: we will reject in others whatever it is that we fear in ourselves.” It is those things that make us wary of loving our neighbor because in essence we see our own shortcomings in them.
Self-acceptance is sometimes a difficult thing to embrace at times. I have struggled with that many times in my life–not sure why—but sometimes I don’t have a great feeling of self worth. I have evolved a great deal over my many years 🙂 and am so much better at loving myself than I used to be. I mean after all, God made me, right? And He loves me. And that should be proof enough that I am a person of worth if I am in His eyes. Funny how sometimes my mind gets all mixed up around that fact.
The author outlines that the first tablet (1-4) deals with creaturehood and how we need to come to terms with our own pride and our place in the universe. The second Sinai Tablet challenges us to those “ethical standards that can make the entire world safe, whole, and fully human.” If we honor all of the commandments it will permit us to live a healthy life and become a holy and complete person.
Chittister always ends her chapters with little gems to think about and ponder and the one that I really liked and would include as my conclusion today is as follows: “William Shakespeare puts it well. He writes: ‘I do desire we may be better strangers.’ It isn’t that we must all be friends together. It is that we must all be better humans together. Gonna work on that one!!!