“Owe no one anything,” is a reasonable proverb for daily living, but paired with the clause, “except to love one another,” challenges us to live and love as Christ did. I can be in debt to you and owe you money, or need to return a favour; a debt of this sort is something that I can pay back and be finished with forever. If we consider “love one another” as a debt we owe to one another, there is no measure by which we can tell if it is ever fully repaid. Likewise if love is a debt to others, then love isn’t something that I can bestow only upon the favoured few; my family and friends, for that is arrogance. Instead, I am a debtor who owes everyone this love and I must offer what love I have to my neighbour. The miracle of giving away our love is that when we pour out it out from our hearts towards our neighbour, then more love flows in, and the more we grow into the image and likeness of the One who first loved us into being.
But not only do we need to love our neighbour but also the Earth too and see what we can do to realize that we are debtors to the world God made and loves. Think of how we recklessly extract resources from the earth as if we owned them. Look at each person you encounter today and at the world around you and say to yourself, “I owe you love,” and then offer them the love you have. You can be assured that more love will pour in for you to do this each and every day you live and we will be living as Christ lived and loved. Thanks be to God.
Sr. Elizabeth Ann Eckert