1 Corinthians 13- The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty
gate. 2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as
day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If
I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will
reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete
arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left
those infant ways for good.
12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long
before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then; see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing
him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
"The Message" Bible Translation by Eugene Peterson)
WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS GOD TALKING ABOUT IN THIS SCRIPTURE?
People translate this as unconditional Love, but that is a misnomer.
Unconditional Love is called Codependency. That is when you will do anything, no matter how much it hurts you or someone innocent,
like a child to stay with someone. Codependency is fake kind of Agape.
Real AGAPE love reflects the heart of God who is AGAPE LOVE. God
does not do anything for one person that is dependent upon hurting someone else. God is also very demanding in relationships.
The Lord demands honesty, accountability, discipline, commitment-all those things that build relationships. It is not in God’s
Nature to let us treat Him like crap and then walk away without consequences.
That’s the same way we should be in our relationships too.
But true Love is as forgiving as it is demanding. And that’s where the Church is lacking today. We don’t have
the Agape Love that is both challenging and committed. We have Love, that’s fleshy, fickle, weak, me centered, wishy-washy,
Peter had that kind of love towards Jesus. He told the Lord that
he would stick to Him, no matter what. But when all hell broke loose on Jesus, where was Peter? Saving his skin! He talked
a big talk about how everyone else would run, but not him, not good old, strong willed, brave hearted Pete. He said that to
look good because his friendship with Jesus was all about what made him feel good and look good. But before the rooster crowed
that night, Peter found himself ashamed of his beaten and rejected friend and ran away, leaving Jesus to die.
What kind of love do we as Christians have for each other? We have a tendency to run around being very harsh towards the people who offend our
sense of Philos or earthly, friendship based love and affection. That’s how you know the Body of Christ is lacking in
Agape love. Don’t speak to someone just so and you get a whole litany of rage and anger. Don’t say something in
just the right tone and you’d think World War Three had broken out.
And when we run into that kind of response, what do we do? Do
we run away and hide? Do we rage back? NO!
But to do that we need to have AGAPE; that Challenging, Compassionate,
Forgiving Committed Love. How do we get this Love?
By admitting, we don’t have any!
THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING WELL IS TO ADMIT YOU HAVE A
Don’t raise your hands, but how many people here are sick
of trying to love someone ugly? Honey, I have BEEN there!!!!
I don’t know about you, but there have been people in my
life that have made me cry. When I thought about them and how they behaved, they made me feel like running in the other direction
and hiding because they had ugly ways, ugly talk, ugly attitudes and ugly souls! The very sight of them made me want to puke.
The worst part of it was that they thought they were just fine.
If you tried to say what was wrong they looked at you as if you were nuts and kept on being ugly. I used to stay awake at
night and stare at the ceiling saying all the nice things I knew about people like that to see if I could talk myself into
loving them. No such luck. The more I thought about them and tried to love them as friends, the worse it got. All I could
see was the ugly. As for the lust part-HA! I wouldn’t have itched them to scratch them.
This was driving me crazy. I was getting to the point where I
just wanted to end it all and get it over with. That’s how bad ugly people can offend you. Everything they say or do
get to you so badly you just want them to shut up and go away forever.
It was then that I discovered AGAPE love. Again, we can thank
Mary for that. She spoke to me in my sleep and pointed out that all I had for these people was PHILOS love and that wasn’t
enough to get me through this at all.
“Unless you can learn to love them with My Son’s Heart,
you’ll never be able to help them or yourself. You’ll just burn out trying.”
I asked her how I could have this love. Mary smiled and said,
“You must first admit that your own heart is empty. Then we can fill it with God’s Love.”
See, we talk about love tanks, about how we need to have our type
of love given to us before we can love someone else. That’s true- and false. We need our PHILOS or Friendship love
tanks filled with gifts, kind words, time, touch or loving actions. Our Eros Love should come from our spouses. But when it
comes to AGAPE the only One who can fill that tank is GOD because GOD is the only One who loves us for ourselves who can totally
accept and challenge us at the same time.
We have to ask for this gift. But we have to be willing to admit
our own hearts are just not up to the job.
The problem is that we are so stuck on ourselves that we don’t
have the slightest idea of what real love is at all. We think we do, based upon romance novels or country western songs, but
in truth, those ideas of love are more Philos than Agape. Our brand of love is often co-dependent and shaky as it goes. How
can we tell? Because God’s Love is challenging, committed and compassionate. We are often mean instead of being challenging,
controlling when we think we’re being committed and co-dependent when we’re sure we’re compassionate.
ONCE WE ADMIT OUR OWN HEARTS ARE EMPTY, ASK GOD TO FILL IT.
THE ROSARY IS ONE WAY TO
ASK FOR THE INFILLING OF GOD'S LOVE
The easiest way to ask for this kind of love is the prayer called
That’s what Mary suggested to me that night. I was surprised.
How could a bunch of Hail Marys and Our Fathers help fill my heart with God’s Agape Love?
“By meditating both the prayers and the mysteries in faith,
you will begin to find your heart changed towards that person. You will be firm when you need to be firm and kind when you
need to be kind. You will tell the truth, but do it in such a way that the person will listen not to you, but to the Holy
Spirit. They will change or they will leave, but your prayers through the Rosary will follow them and they will change for
She held out the Rosary in my dream and I woke up. After that,
I started praying he Rosary every day. At first, it was a hassle. But then bit-by-bit I started liking it. It seemed to cleanse
my mind and emotions and focus my spirit.
Every day I would get my Rosary out and pray, thinking about the
various prayers and asking for the virtues of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. You see, God created the soul of Mary to reflect
her spirit, as it should be for all human beings. I would pray the First Joyful Mystery and ask for the Heart Virtue of Humility.
And then the Second for Diligence in serving my neighbor and so on. Slowly, the peace I was looking for began to come to me:
1) You start looking at how you might be at fault in the situation and how you can heal with God’s unconditional
Love. I saw my own faults and was led to repent of them. Like Jesus said, Take the plank from your own eye before you start
looking at splinters in someone else’s eyes. I could see my lack of humility and how I needed to see and admit my own
2) You see how sinful you truly are and yet how God loves you and everyone else.
3) You repent big time and began making amends to the people you hurt yourself, no strings attached.
4) You find yourself getting less upset, offended and angry at the person whom you thought most needed this prayer
5) You find your heart warming towards that person no matter how ugly they are with you.
6) Your desire to get even, hurt back, or even see God “balance the books” is gone.
7) You sincerely pray for the other person as if they were your own flesh and blood.
Mary’s Heart is big enough to take in the whole world. If
we allow ourselves to pray with her, then our hearts will grow big enough to let the Ugly People in too.
THE SCAPULAR ALSO SHOWS OUR COMMITMENT TO AGAPE LOVE.
The Scapular is a sign of the Blood of Jesus, shed for us on the Cross. By
wearing it we show that we are willing to join the Lord in "taking up our Cross each day" and following Him.
Each morning, when you get up, kiss this symbol of the Precious Blood of Jesus
and offer God the Father the sacrifice of praise through your day:
Fatima Morning Offering
O Jesus, in union with Your Sacrifice on the Cross and Your Precious Blood flowing through each and
every Holy Mass offered this day, united with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys
I give all that this day may bring as a sacrifice of praise, be it good or bad: for the love
of God the Father, in the power and Presence of the Holy Spirit living inside of me, for the conversion of sinners,
and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus; especially those that cause sorrow to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is His Mother and Our Mother too.