Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Love that Never Fails

A Love that Never Fails

          “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.” – St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.
          When I looked at this Sunday’s Scripture readings a few days ago, I almost skipped right by the second reading from First Corinthians.  I have heard it so many times – at Masses, at weddings – I guess I just figured I didn’t need to spend much time with it this week.
`        But that can be a real danger with Scripture.  It’s not a mystery novel, where if we’ve read it before and already know what’s going to happen, we can skip certain parts.  It’s often when we know a piece of Scripture particularly well that we need to spend more time with it because it’s then that we stop listening as closely to what God may be trying to tell us through it right now.
          We’ve all heard this week’s second reading numerous times, but as people of God for whom real Christian love should define us, it is always a good checklist to measure ourselves by.  I started this post with just a few lines from the reading because those are the ones that really jumped out at me when I slowed down and paid attention.  Read them slowly.
          Love bears all things.  Love believes all things.  Love hopes all things.  Love endures all things.  Love never fails.
          How many families are suffering because the spirit of the world has seemed to choke off the Spirit of God?  How many parents spend countless hours on their knees and in tears because of children who have walked away from the Faith which those parents so lovingly instilled in them?  How many of us have spouses, siblings, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, friends who we weary of praying for and witnessing to because they just don’t seem to get it?
          Love believes all things.  Love hopes all things.
          How many St. Monicas soak their pillows with their tears over the wayward lives of children who have embraced our pagan culture with all its sinfulness?  How many children wish their parents would only seek their hearts with the passion they seek the treasures of the world?  How many grandparents ache over grandchildren they were never able to hold because Planned Parenthood got hold of their mothers first?
          Love bears all things.  Love endures all things.
          We live in a culture that is shedding the last vestiges of its Christian heritage.  And it is in a furious battle to claim the souls of us and our loved ones.
          We who know and love the Truth and the God of Truth want desperately for our family, friends and neighbors to be blessed like we have been blessed.  And we all want to spend eternity in perfect happiness with those we have loved so much.
          And yet we all know people that we love who have embraced the lies of our age and who don’t want to hear about God or holiness or His Church or even Heaven.  Every one of us knows that pain.  It is the pain of love that only wants what is good for the beloved.  So we pray and we try to set good example.  We invite and we teach and we fast.  And so often nothing seems to happen.
          Depression can take hold of us.  Some people wash their hands of the situation; others give up hope and despair. 
          But we are people of love.  And what we seek we know to be the will of God – the holiness and salvation of those we love.  St. Paul reminds us that to be authentic, our love must never despair and must never grow tired.  We must focus on our own holiness and continuing to love, trusting, as St. Ambrose told St. Monica, “The son of so many tears will not be lost.”  God remains God and we are called to trust Him.  Love never fails.
          Love bears all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things, it endures all things.  Love never fails…Faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.