(26) Therefore, we seek to love all those to whom we are bound by ties of family or friendship. Our love for them increases, as our love for Christ grows deeper. We have a special love and affection for members of the Third Order, praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. We are on our guard against anything that might injure this love, and we seek reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged. We seek the same love for those with whom we have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling-up of emotion, but is a bond founded in our common union with Christ.Today’s portion of the Principles sounds a little too easy – as if love for others automatically increases as love for Christ deepens. The juxtaposition of ‘increase’ and ‘deepen’ is interesting. What is that meant to signify? How can my love for Christ grow deeper? Surely this is not something I can achieve – it is not a matter of my efforts. Christianity doesn’t work like that.
Increased awareness of the depth of Christ’s love for me may evoke a response of love in me. But this is not a matter of my effort. I simply put myself where Christ can make me more aware of his love – i.e. in worship, in devotional reading of Scripture, and in the places where Christ is likely to be in this world (among the poor, the marginalized, the suffering). These are the places where he is likely to act. But he may also act through my other reading, my encounters those who are not poor or marginalized or suffering, and through creation.