But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Set your hearts…on the more important gifts…and the greatest of these is love. [1 Corinthians 15:3-4]
Saint Therese was a Carmelite nun in Lisieux, France. She died at the age of 24 in 1897. Among her writings was a passage in which she talks about her search for what she felt was “her unique calling” to serve the Church. For help, she turned to Paul’s letters. There she read that not everyone is called upon to be an apostle, a prophet, or a teacher. This left her more confused than ever. But she kept on reading. Suddenly she came to the words in today’s reading. She writes, “Nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: “O Jesus, at last I have found my calling.”
How am I using my unique love to serve Christ’s body, the Church—especially the local church?
The more the world is at its worst, the more we need the Church at its best. [Anonymous]
Excerpted from Mission, by Fr. Mark Link, S.J. ©2000 RCL Enterprises, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com
Lord, you are the essence of St. Paul’s description of love. You do believe in us, hope for us, and you have endured all things for us. Awaken our imagination, our will, our conscience to uplift the discouraged, to affirm the contributions of others, and to be a source of joy and laughter for those who have travelled too far down the road of seriousness and worry. When our words and behavior are anchored in genuine love, everything is more fulfilling and gratitude becomes second nature. Lord, fill us with your Spirit as we cling to St. Paul’s ultimate promise, “Love never ends.”
—The Jesuit Prayer Team