Flagler Beach sunrise / bob traupman.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, EVERYONE!
We’ve been reflecting on St. Paul’s eloquent words about love from I Corinthians 13.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Romantic love may wear off in a few months or in a year or so. True love requires fidelity.
I often remember people I met briefly forty or fifty years ago and there is still a place in my heart for them, even those who were adversaries. And when I think of them I believe my prayer is able to touch them even now, either living or dead and in some way let them know I still love them.
We think we know all about love, but Love is an Art and a Discipline to be learned and acquired by trial and error. As such, we have to learn how to love. Or perhaps unlearn what we have learned in abusive homes and find people who can teach us how to love well. I am profoundly grateful for the people who allowed my soul to unfold and blossom because of their love.
When I taught high school seniors (45 years ago!) I had them read two books, Erich Fromm’s Art of Loving and Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Both books still should be required reading by anyone who wants to become a whole and healed human person.
Many of us keep focusing on finding the right object of our love. Fromm ~ and Jesus ~ tell us that being a person who is capable of loving the stranger in the checkout line at the 7-11 or your sibling whose guts you can’t stand is the way we will learn to love.
Love is being free to love the one you’re with so you can be with the one you love.
It is just not possible to love some and hate others. St. John says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15).
Love is being able to see and respond to the loving energy of the universe and spread it around instead of trying to possess it for oneself.
Love is faithfully loving whomever God puts in our life at every turn of our life’s journey.
Good and gracious God,
We live in a world that gives us so few models of faithful love.
Help us to learn the art and discipline of loving.
Help us to understand that we cannot love one person ~ even ourselves ~ unless we let love ~ rather than hate ~ flow from our heart to touch and heal and nourish those around us.
Heal us, Lord.
Let us trust in You for you are the Source of all Love,
Your Love is flowing like a river giving life to everything along the day.
May love flow like a river from our own hearts to every one we meet this day.
And what better way to end our series “What is Love” on this Valentine’s Day with Andre Rieu’s rendition of the Romeo and Juliet theme. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen to view the lovely video.
And here is the entire text of St. Paul’s Ode to Love (I Corinthians 13) Savor each line and see how you measure up. . . .
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous,
Love is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13