The Greatest Commandment 


We have been created by God's affection; it is now our turn to make it our self.

If we live out our own nature as an image of the mystery that created us and participate in this mystery, if we understand that this mystery is both mercy and goodness, then we will try to live that mercy, goodness, and brotherhood as if it were our own nature, no matter how difficult or challenging the task. Without this personal dimension we cannot belong to a group of people called together.

This mercy is so strong that it enters into our very makeup and thus must be subjectively assimilated: I am talking of the mercy and the love that God's mystery has for each of us.  We are so much the objects of this affection that we are made, created, saved, and kept alive by it.  We have been created by this affection; it is now our turn to make it our self, acting from within this mercy, failing which we shall betray our deepest nature.

By acting within this mercy we recognize the value of the other. Were this value a mere shining point of light among a million points of darkness, it would be valuable not in and of itself but as an indicator of the mystery that the other carries within.  This is love.  It makes our fullness, our self-realization, coincide with our affirmation of the other.




Monsignor Luigi Giussani. "The Greatest Commandment." excerpt from The Risk of Education: Discovering Our Ultimate Destiny (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001)

Reprinted with permission by The Crossroad Publishing Company.  This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in June 2004.


Monsignor Luigi Giussani (1922-2005), as a result of his encounters with young people, began a method of communicating the Christian faith, starting from the fundamental needs of human experience — such as the need for truth, for beauty, and for justice. As a result of his experience and insights he founded the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation in 1954. The name expresses the conviction that a Christian life lived in communion is the foundation of authentic human liberation. His books include The Risk of Education: Discovering Our Ultimate Destiny, At the Origin of the Christian Claim, Is It Possible To Live This Way? Volume 1: Faith, Is It Possible To Live This Way? Volume 2: Hope, Is It Possible To Live This Way? Volume 3: Charity, The Religious Sense, The Journey to Truth is an Experience, and Why the Church?

Copyright © 2001 The Crossroad Publishing Company

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Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.