Jesus asserts that we are to love God with the entirety of our being - mind, heart, soul. The touchstone for the truth of our love for God is the love of our neighbor. 'You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.' But there's the rub. We don't really love ourselves. If the criterion of how we love our neighbors is the love we have for ourselves, our neighbor may be in trouble
Writing from my own, often painful experience (most of the pain self-inflicted), I would add that it is only the love God gives me in and through Christ by the power of their Holy Spirit, the kind of love Andy Freeman described Jesus having for Judas in Episode 28 of 24-7 Prayer's Anagnorisis series, that allows me to love myself. Hence, I can love because I am loved.
Speaking of God's love, no sooner had I posted this than I began to think about that ol' Ragamuffin, Brennan Manning. My thought was prompted by the profile picture of one of my Facebook friends that looked like Brennan. It turned out to be a photo of René Girard. I thought what a fitting time to think of Brennan Manning! Then it dawned on me that he died exactly one year ago this very day, 12 April 2013.
In his book Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, Brennan wrote: "Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion." Please remember this week that Jesus did it all for love of you.