Becoming Holy

Love is patient

on February 6, 2013

DSCN0498I read an incredible article by Deacon Keith Fournier this morning which is going to take life up a notch or two.  Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is often admired by lovers, read at weddings, and in my case, given as a penance in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is sweet and encompasses what it truly is to love.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, 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. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13)

The part of the article that whispered my name was when Deacon Keith shared some wisdom from a priest friend of his.  He was advised to take the scripture from Paul and to insert his own name in place of the word “love.”  I mentally went to the scripture and began reciting, “Charlene is patient. (ouch!)  Charlene is kind. (hmmm.)  Charlene is not jealous.  (Yikes!)  At that point, I had to skim over the entire listing and shudder at my inadequacies.  Maybe you want to give this a try.  After my initial shudder and feelings of failure, I continued to read and saw that the priest had also advised Deacon Keith to use this exercise as an examination of conscience.  Ah ha!  This I could relate to.  I could see the idea of inserting my name into Corinthians as a measure of accountability.  If I am not patient that day, it is time to try harder.  Any lack of kindness will require apologies to said victims.  The laundry list continues~jealousy, arrogance, inflated ego, rudeness, selfish, hot-tempered, brooding, gloating at others’ sin.  All vices that need to be removed in order to truly love.

I had never really noticed the way this passage moves from the “is” statements to the “is not” statements to the positive action statements.  It was inspiring to recite, “Charlene bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” and to imagine a day when these words would be realities instead of wishes.  This treasured verse from Corinthians suddenly became a Mission Statement for Love!  I am printing this off and inserting my name and taping it to the bathroom mirror, the fridge, in the car and other random places~that I might keep this examination ever before me.  

The Bible often reminds us of the power of the tongue.  The words we speak have the power to give life or death.  We become what we pray.  How much better to speak words of love, words of conquering sin to ourselves throughout the day!  In 1 Peter 3:10&11 we read ,“For the one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.  he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”    In Ephesians 4:29 we are advised, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  

I treasure this advice and God’s timeliness in placing this before me today.  As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is spoken of and advertised as if it is something that can be purchased.  Authentic love, however, must be pursued and requires constant effort.  As followers of Jesus, we have the perfect witness to love.  Paul shares with us a recipe for making authentic love present in our own lives.  



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Phillippians 4: 6-7 "Cast your cares upon the Lord & He will give you a peace and grace beyond understanding" other words.... As Bob Marley sang it, "Say, don't worry, about a 'ting, cuz every little 'ting, is gonnna be alright!"

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