St. Paul says, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
St. Paul’s statement that he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law leads some to the mistaken conclusion that the rest of those commandments are unnecessary – that if only I do it lovingly, for example, I may commit adultery.
On the contrary, the commandment of love and the particular commandments are interdependent. We learn from the commandment of love the point of the particular commandments and the spirit in which they should be practiced; but we learn from the particular commandments what genuine love actually requires. Adultery is of such a nature that it cannot be committed lovingly; love is of such a nature that it loathes the very thought of adultery.
Tomorrow: The Apple and the Worm