The well hyped Valentine celebration is made a more thoughtful event by reviewing the beautiful love quotes from Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians. I was just reminded of those simple words, and where they came from. A loving talk from a friend about his interpretation of the readings re-informed me where they originated.
They are equal to or more famous than the 23rd Psalm. One hears them at weddings, sees them on cards, and cross stitched on wall hangings. In fact, they are used in songs, speeches, sermons, debates, and even films. A beautiful video, Love Never Fails, shows the words to the epistle (while sung quite richly) against a nature scene changing as the words do.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says:Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails.
(The New American Bible, pg 1270).
Truly words worth noting, pondering, and practicing. The love spoken of is called Agape. It is divine, from God, unselfish and unconditional. It is different from Phileo love which is equal to a deep, tender affection for a mate or friend. My understanding is that phileo love is a natural affection for another, where agape love is authentic, selfless, love of the will (not sensuous). Then there is Eros love which equals the pasisonate, sensual desire, longing for love. There are more definitions and divisions of love, but these are the basic ones to understand.
Love is so powerful that it allows for a greater accomplishment when working towards a larger purpose beyond the narrow self focus. A great example is the amazing works being done by various groups, foundations, and single human beings for the Haiti relief effort. One local couple have had a foundation for the Haitians for a long time before the recent earthquake. It is called The Mercy and Sharing Foundation, and it is a great example of powerful love.
The practice of giving and receiving the gift of love is universal among human culture. This bible message reminds us not only of the greatest healer, but by opening our hearts to love, we do pass it on. It is an irony that we can't keep it unless we give it away.
One thing it doesn't say, but I think is true is, love is blind. Yes, love is blind to the faults of others. Maybe that is what makes us so vulnerable when we are in love romantically. Sometimes we experience a breakup and need help to make up when love gets lost. Then we have to be reminded, love never fails.
In the mean time, chocolate love is always a pleasant way to share with someone else on Valentine's Day. just remember:
- a smile is a sign of joy
- a hug is a sign of love
- a laugh is a sign of happiness, and a good friend is a sign of great taste!