Friday, January 29, 2010

Daily - 1/29/10

1 Cor 12:31—13:13

31 Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal

2 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.
3 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.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,

5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 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.

9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,

10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11 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.

12 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.

13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This is the second reading at mass on Sunday. No way can I pass this up.

Think about the author. He's not "just" preaching about something he BELIEVES. He's preaching about something he KNOWS from experience. Paul was a mystic. He'd heard angelic tongues with his own ears. He comprehended divine mysteries and knowledge as well as anyone ever has. He had faith so strong as to move mountains. He's got first-hand experience experience with spiritual gifts.

And he says none of those spiritual gifts that people have longed for and aspired to over the ages are worth anything without love. Just stop and let that sink in, because it's powerful. He's saying it with certainty. This isn't something that he only knows from reading or even from praying. He knows from experience. He calls it "the more excellent way," which means that he's tried LESS excellent ways and knows how they work out.

Then he goes on to describe what love is. If you're like me, and you're trying to focus on ways to model Christ in your day to day life, verses 4-8 are golden. They are a measuring stick to use throughout your life. When you examine your conscience, try asking yourself these questions.

Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I think highly of myself? Have I been rude? Do I seek out my own interests before those of others? Am I quick-tempered? When I've been "wronged", do I dwell on it?

Nobody is perfect, but God gives us what we need to transform over time. In the end though, it's up to us to put it into practice.