Love. What a fascinating word! So easy to use; so hard to understand.
People say they love their computer, or a favorite food, song, or a movie, etc. So, maybe we are confused as to what love is – its true meaning.
“LOVE SEEKS THE WELL BEING OF THE ONE LOVED.”
Using this definition of love, shows us that the word “LOVE” is misused in the above examples. True love denotes action.
Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul explained true love in a letter he wrote to the believers in Corinth. Here is what St. Paul wrote:
I CORINTHIANS, 13
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. Love is not jealous, it is not ill mannered, 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. Love bears all things, believes all thing, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became an adult, 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.
Note: Paul was right on target. He knew what true love was all about. We all could do well to heed his advice. Now read how one couple paraphrased this scripture reading.
Delores and Gene were a team couples for NMEPM when they reflected on Paul’s letter and wrote the following paraphrase. At the time, Gene was serving time in a Federal Penitentiary.
I CORINTHIANS (Paraphrased)
When prison life separates us.
I may be one of the best in my profession and be able to make great speeches. I may be able to communicate with my co-workers and friends, but if I can’t communicate with my spouse, I am as a lost ship in the middle of the ocean. I may have the knowledge and understanding to organize great corporations or put a computer together piece by piece, but if I don’t understand my spouse, what have I really accomplished. I may give freely of my time and money to help those in need, but if I’m not sensitive of my spouse’s needs, what have I gained?
Love is patient, (like waiting out in the cold and rain in order to get into a visiting room to visit with your spouse.)
Love is kind, (by offering words of encouragement when the whole world seems to be against you.)
Love is not jealous, (when your spouse is able to go on with their life even though yours seems to be on hold.)
Love is not ill-mannered, (like pointing out all the sacrifices made because of your spouse’s mistakes.)
Love is not selfish, (like trying to control your spouse’s every move.)
Love is not irritable, (because you stood in line for the phone for over an hour only to get no answer.)
Nor resentful, (because of past mistakes.)
Love does not rejoice and say, “I told you so,” (when your mistakes catch up with you, and you both have to pay for them), but rejoices knowing you have one more chance to make your life worthwhile.
Love bears all things, (like having to take complete responsibility for keeping the family together through a long period of separation.)
Love believes all things, (like knowing only good can come from the separation you have had to endure.)
Love hopes all things, (like knowing there will come the day that you replace the word ‘prison’ with the word ‘freedom’.)
Love endures all things, (like working all week, then traveling all night in order to spend a few hours with your spouse.)
Love never fails, (as long as we are able to forgive our spouse and remember the good that is in them.)
When I was a child, I thought that you met someone, fell in love, got married, had children, and lived happily ever after. The day came that I had to put away my childish ideas and accept that in the real world there are things that are not in our control in a relationship. That’s when we have to depend upon God’s grace to help us truly understand the meaning of true love.
After talking to my spouse through a glass, talking with my spouse in a crowded visiting room with strangers watching our every move, and our hurriedly short ten minute phone calls, we are beginning to communicate, understand, and accept each other as God intended.
Faith may be the belief that your marriage is going to withstand all the adjustments that are ahead of you and your spouse. Hope may be that you grow closer to your spouse during this time of separation. Love may be that you truly learn the meaning of true love by dialogue and removing the masks that you both hide behind.
So faith, hope, and love remain. But the greatest of these is love.
By Delores & Gene