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addiction to self or love of self?
"I will heal their defection, I will love them freely." —Hosea 14:5
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." —Mark 12:31
We human beings are addicted to ourselves because of our fallen nature. We are "self-aholics" and egomaniacs who live in narcissism and solipsism. We are naturally preoccupied with ourselves and automatically live to "do our own thing."
Sometimes this addiction to self is passed off as a love for ourselves. However, addiction to self is closer to self-hatred than to self-love. For example, a person in an emotionally and/or sexually addictive relationship does not love the other person. That person is using the other person and probably is being used and abused himself.
How can we break free of our addiction to self so that we can love ourselves and thereby love our neighbor as ourselves? Only Jesus' love can break the spell of self so that we no longer live for ourselves but for Him (2 Cor 5:15). We love God, ourselves, or anyone because the Lord first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). When we receive God's love, we stop being preoccupied with ourselves and start to love Him with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength (Mk 12:30). As we are baptized into, immersed into the Lord's love, we forget about ourselves and, paradoxically, begin to love ourselves. Receive His love. Give His love to Him and yourself.
Prayer: Father, give me so much love for You and myself that I will love my enemies.
Promise: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt." —Hos 14:2
Praise: After his conversion to Christ at age forty, St. John of God eagerly sought to be a martyr. God did not grant him this desire. Instead, John laid down his life serving the sick and the poor.
Reference: (We offer a Retreat for Women, March 23. For more information or to register, call 937-587-5464, e-mail email@example.com or check online at www.presentationministries.com)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001