When asked which is the greatest Commandment, Jesus summed up the entire Law by quoting from Deuteronomy and Leviticus: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
When Jesus said “the second is like it,” He taught us that when we love our neighbor, we are at the same time loving God. This is because we love our neighbor with the theological virtue of charity – the grace to love others with the love of God. When we love our neighbor, we are actually participating in God’s love for them. Therefore we exercise our love of neighbor “for the sake of our love of God.”
Science shows that two Great Commandments help each other. Your closest neighbor is your spouse. Social science research shows that:
- Couples who share the same religious beliefs have greater marital satisfaction.
- Couples who pray together have greater levels of satisfaction with their relationship.
- Husbands with greater levels of religious practice are more likely to express higher levels of satisfaction and to have better habits of communication and conflict-resolution.
- Couples who read the Bible have an easier adjustment to marriage.
- The more religious a father is, the more positive his impact on his adolescent’s mental capacity and social responsibility will be.
- Religious adults are more likely to support their elderly parents than are their less religious counterparts.
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