We all know that as Christians we are supposed to love. But how do we really get there. In the first reading today Peter gives us a list of supplements, so popular today among the health conscious. His list is not vitamins but steps that trace a path from faith to love.
In his model you start with something simple: Faith in Jesus.
If you're reading this, you probably already have step that one. Then he tells us to
2. Supplement the faith with virtue. In order to have virtue you have to know what they are and so he tells us to
3. Supplement virtue with knowledge. We must constantly deepen our knowledge of the faith.
Then it gets a bit harder because we have to move the knowledge to action.
4. Supplement knowledge with self-control. Imagine doing and saying only those things we choose to do and say. This is easy enough to do when all is going well but what happens to our self-control when things go wrong? He then tells us
5. Supplement self-control with endurance. We love to celebrate this virtue in athletes but do we really want it for ourselves? The next step is to my mind the uniquely Christian key
6. Supplement endurance with devotion. Christian endurance is not gritting your teeth and getting through the pain. Endurance comes from falling into deep devotion to Jesus and drawing strength from him, the crucified Christ.
When we lose ourselves in Christ then we can take the next step and
7. Supplement devotion with mutual affection. We're not expected to suddenly one day be able to love every body. We start with baby steps, just some basic mutual affection.
Lastly he tells us:
8. Supplement mutual affection with love.
A simple but not always easy path to walk.