Love Never Fails

“Love Never Fails”
A reflection on 1 Corinthians 13
Sunday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time (Year C)
©2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

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. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13

Words of truth proceeding from human and angelic messengers must conform to the eternal Word conceived in the Womb of Love, God the Father. The Spirit of truth proceeds from the same Font of Love.

When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

John 15:26

Truth and love are inseparable. Apart from love, “truth” is a self-righteous “gong” or a “clashing cymbal.” Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for applying the letter of the law without the Spirit of mercy. Apart from truth, “love” is aimless indulgence. Jesus transforms lives.

In the stillness and silence of the indivisible Trinity, love is truth and truth is love.

Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.
Where charity is true, God is there—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Click here for six different versions of Ubi Caritas. 

…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

Ephesians 4:15 (RSV)

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