Q : 
How do you define self love in Catholic terms? Is self love equal to not following Christ?
【 Question from 】 Canada 加拿大

Fr. Francis : 

I suppose you are talking about self-love versus selfish love. Of course, in Catholic circles, we are used to hear about selfless love, which sounds contradictory to self-love, and so the confusion.

So may be we should investigate proper self-love that does not lead to selfish love then.

Before we can be selfless in loving others, it is important to realize the gift that we are. Even the biblical conjunction, the two greatest commandments, says: Love God with all your heart, and love others as yourself. That presupposes that you need to love yourself first so you can love others as yourself.

The root of true self-love is in accepting our identity as God’s child. I am loved by God and redeemed by Christ. Jesus calls me friend and asks me to join in His mission. My greatest joy is to glorify God and see people come to encounter God’s love and forgiveness and be transformed. I am part of the Body of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a member of Christ’s bride the Church. Everything God gave me: my body and soul, my time, talent and treasure, is for making this known, and for serving God and evangelizing others. So I need to take good care of what God entrusted to me, that’s self-love, so that they are ready to be given as a blessings for others, which is selfless love.

In other words, in order to better testify to God’s love, I need to have healthy lifestyle, take in healthy knowledge, and keeps my soul close to God, so that when it comes time to serve, be it out of duty or by chance, my body has the strength, my mind has the skills and my soul is full of the Holy Spirit to know God’s will, to do it, and to do it effectively.