Day 17 – Love for God is verified in one’s love for the neighbour
Augustine has been accused of having spiritualized love, reducing it to a kind of personal intimacy with God. But we know that Augustine took seriously 1 Jn. 3:17: “If anyone has a brother in need but has no pity in him, how can the love of God be in him?.” Augustine knew the demands of love: If you want to live in love, you may be certain that love cannot be had either easily or cheaply. We cannot live in love just by being good-natured; actually this puts it too mildly, but cannot live in love by being lazy, indifferent, or negligent. Do not imagine that you love your servant because you do not chastise him; that your child is loved if you do not correct him; that you love your neighbours if you never speak to them. That is not love, but weakness. Progress in love is actually measured in terms of one’s growth in commitment to the needs of the other, and towards the common good.