"You shall love God with all your heart, soul, mind and
Love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? You mean I
am supposed to put God in the very center and make God the most
important consideration in my life? Most of us, to be honest, can't
say that God is that important to us.
I would love to be able to say that God is always at the center
of my life, but sadly, I put myself and other things ahead of God
sometimes. Some days I do better than others, but thankfully, God
is very patient with me and loves me anyway. I have always taken
comfort in knowing that my best is good enough for God.
Today I want to say a few more words about taking God seriously.
None of us will ever measure up completely to the Great Commandment
- the one that summarizes all other commandments - but this is the
brass ring for which we all reach. To take God seriously, to seek
to love him with all we have, there are things we must do.
We must want what God wants. To want what God wants means we
have to understand the Scriptures, listen to the Spirit within us,
and stay consciously connected to God through prayer.
We must remember who we are. We are holy. We are holy not
because of what we have done, but because we are "created in the
image and likeness of God," and, through our baptism, we are
adopted children of God. We must accept our holiness, neither
exaggerating nor denying who we really are.
We must be in command of ourselves, have a handle on our
addictions and our passions, so that we can go in the way that God
wants us to go. We must constantly question our motives, making
sure that we not only do the right thing, but also do it for the
We must never give in to hopelessness, whether it is about the
future or about other people. We know the war against evil has
already been won, even though we may continue to lose many painful
battles. God's kingdom will come, and nothing we can do, not even
the gates of hell, can stop it.
Regardless of our failures, loving God with our whole heart,
soul, mind, and strength is something we should strive for, even
though it is something we will never accomplish completely. God
wants a relationship with us, even if it is rocky and
We are challenged to get serious about God, not in some loud,
noisy and superficial way, but in a long haul and
core-of-one's-being kind of way.
Orginally published in Fr. Knott's weekly column, An
Encouraging Word, which began appearing in his diocesan newspaper,
The Record, in 2002. "Giving God Our All" can be
found with other thought provoking articles by Fr. Knott in Affirming Goodness, now on sale in the