On this the fifth Sunday of Lent, we continue our reflections on the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. This week we will look at the virtue of love. Links to the previous posts in this series are at the end of this reflection.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines charity, that is love, as “the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (CCC, 1823). Jesus even raises love to the level of a new commandment, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12).
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:19-25 (emphasis added)
In this passage from Hebrews, there is a three-fold summons to respond to what God has done for us through the salvific work of His Son on the cross. First, we are exhorted to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22) to God. This is having full confidence and “unwavering faith in Christ and his all-sufficient work of redemption.”
Secondly, we are called to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (Heb 10:23). “The Christian life is about holding fast to the hope that arises from faith,” says Dr. Mary Healy, “all the way to the finish line.”
Lastly, we are called to “to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24). “Faith and hope give birth to love, and love is expressed concretely in good works.”
St. Paul exhorts the Galatians to “be servants of one another” through love because “the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal 5:13-14).
So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Prior reflections in this series on the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love can be found at the links below:
 Mary Healy, Catholic Commentary of Sacred Scripture: Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016), 212.
 Ibid., 213.