What kind of love are we talking about? Sacred Scripture uses the Latin word dilectio, to make us understand clearly that it does not simply mean the feeling of affection. It signifies, rather, a firm determination on the part of the will. Dilectio comes from electio, choice. I would add that, for Christians, loving means 'wanting to love', making up one's mind in Christ to work for the good of souls, without discrimination of any kind; trying to obtain for them, before any other good, the greatest good of all, that of knowing Christ and falling in love with him.

Our Lord spurs us on: 'Do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute and insult you.' We might not feel humanly attracted to those who would reject us were we to approach them. But Jesus insists: we must not return evil for evil; we must not waste any opportunities we have of serving them wholeheartedly, even if we find it difficult to do so; we must never cease keeping them in mind in our prayers.

This dilectio, this charity, becomes even more affectionate when its object is our brothers in the faith and particularly those who, by God's will, work close beside us: our parents, husband or wife, children, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues, neighbours. Without this affection, which is a noble and pure human love directed towards God and based on him, there would be no charity.

References to Holy Scripture
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