The strongest act of love is what
Christ exhibited on Holy Week. For lack of an existing term, let's
call it Eucharistic love. It is impossible for man to reach this
without an abiding of God.
Let's describe the different levels
of true love of neighbor starting from the lowest . . .lowest but,
nevertheless, true love of neighbor.
The strongest force within man is
love of self, which does not have the slightest element of love of
neighbor. Love of neighbor is measured by the extent of good desired
for oneself that one forgoes for his neighbor.
The first level of love of neighbor
is when one forgoes things outside of oneself for the benefit of
one's neighbor; like when St. Paul gave up eating meat because it
scandalized his neighbor. To forgo an object is a degree of love of
The second level is when one
forgoes some comfort or convenience to one's body for the benefit of
one's neighbor; like bearing the burden of work that a neighbor is
neglecting OR even undergoing the punishment due to another.
Note that Christ did both in that
He gave up home and crib during His birth and did the work man is
supposed to do in saving his soul and took upon Himself the
punishment due to man's sins.
The third level is when one lays
down his life for his friend. Christ went one step further in that
He died for us when we were His enemies.
The highest level of love, the
Eucharistic love, is when Christ gave up His claims to Divinity, at
least for a while, so that we can be with Him in heaven for all
When each member of a family aims
at being together in heaven for all eternity and are willing to give
up everything on earth to attain that end. . .that family has
attained Eucharistic love. It should be the goal of everyone who
St. Thomas Aquinas