Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Giving God Our All

by Fr. J. Ronald Knott

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"You shall love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

Mark 12

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 right reason.

  • 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 imperfect.

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 Scholar Shop.


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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.