READ 1 CORINTHIANS 13MEDITATION: Perhaps, it would be easier to understand these statements if we added the words man or woman after each sentiment. Love is a patient man, a patient woman. Love is a kind man, a kind woman. Love is a person who is not boastful, or rude, or self serving, or quick tempered, or vengeful. Love is a truthful person, a man or woman of integrity. A loving man, a loving woman puts up with everything for the sake of being loving. No matter what happens in the world, his or her love remains strong. Love never fails.
All those gifts of chapter 12, speaking in tongues, prophesying, working miracles, and so forth are all physical, concrete gifts of the Spirit. They will no longer exist once we leave the physical world and enter the spiritual world. But love is forever. Our focus must be on living the Love of God. When we die, we will go before the Lord with nothing except our love. If we have loved in an authentic Christian way, if we have loved the way that Christ has loved, then we will stand before the Creator. If we have loved as He calls us to love, we will be absorbed by Him yet still be individuals. We will see Him face to face. And He will have our faces, and we will have His. Then we will know Him as He really is
But suppose that wherever St Paul mentions love, we substitute our own names. How would it fit? If anything, I am sure many, if not all of us, would grow red in the face, and hopefully sigh our regrets. Mother Teresa wrote: "We must love one another as God loves each of us. To be able to love, we need a clean heart. Prayer is what gives us a clean heart. The fruit of prayer is a deepening of faith, and the fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action."
Do the people around you experience God's love manifest through you? Do you balance the manifestation of God's gifts with an evident demonstration of God's love? What attracts people to you - an experience of God's love or a show of God's power? How is God's love evident in your interaction with family, friends, and colleagues? What is the first thing people think of you when they are in your company - that you are a loving, kind, humble, generous and compassionate person? Or simply that you manifest God's gifts?
ACTION: Read 1 Corinthians 13 again, replacing the word "love" with your name so it would read like: "(your name) is patient, ... is kind.... is not jealous, (...) is not pompous, ... is not inflated..."
PRAYER: ACT OF LOVE: O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured. (Add your own thoughts)
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