February 23rd, 2007
One of the things which has become obvious to me over the years about the work in the slums is that you don’t always get the results you expect. People who have lived in the slums for a while may have lost hope of something better. You might pour hours of your time and love into helping them to believe in themselves and make something better of their lives and then, just when you think that their improvement may be permanent, they have a relapse, and they’re back on the alcohol or drugs, and all your effort seems to be wasted. Love can be a really difficult thing, but as Paul described in today’s reading, it can also be an amazing thing.
Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 13
13:1 If I speak with the languages of humans and of angels, but have no love, I am just a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have enough faith to move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. 13:3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand over my body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve nothing.
13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast, is not proud, 13:5 does not act inappropriately, does not seek its own way, is not irritable, does not remember offences, 13:6 enjoys truth rather than evil, 13:7 endures everything, is trusting, is hopeful, and is long-lasting. 13:8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will come to an end. As for different languages, they will pass away. As for knowledge, it will cease. 13:9 We understand incompletely, and we prophesy incompletely 13:10 but when perfection arrives, then anything which is incomplete will come to an end.
13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I felt like a child, and I thought like a child. Now that I am a man, I have finished with childish things. 13:12 Now we see a hazy image in a mirror, but then we will see face to face. Now I understand incompletely, but then I will understand fully, just as I have also been fully understood. 13:13 Now three things endure: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance