The Spiritual Art of the Possible

Love one another even as I have loved you.”

When you commanded your people to love their neighbor as themselves, you had not as yet come upon the earth. Knowing the extent to which each one loved himself, you were not able to ask of your creatures a greater love than this for the neighbor. But when you gave your apostles a new commandment, your own commandment … it was no longer a question of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, but of loving him as you, Jesus, loved him, and will love him to the consummation of the ages.

Ah! Lord, I know you don’t command the impossible. You know better than I do my weakness and imperfection; you know very well that never would I be able to love my sisters as you love them, unless you, O my Jesus, loved them in me. It is because you wanted to give me this grace that you made your new commandment. Oh! How I love this new commandment since it gives me the assurance that your will is to love in me all those you command me to love. Yes, I feel it, when I am charitable, it is you alone, Jesus, who are acting in me, and the more united I am to you, the more also do I love my sisters.

— St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Autobiography C, p. 220-221

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