If I were trying to give a definition to a being from another planet who asked: “What does the word love mean?” I could easily use today’s text from 1 COR 12:31-13-13 as an answer. This lectionary reading is known by some as an “ode to love.” It speaks not only of what love is but also what it is not. You have likely heard it at a wedding at least once. It is full of hyperbole, something St. Paul often used for effect. If we pay attention, however, and consider his words, stripped down and reflected in human (and “angelic”) behaviors, we might come to the conclusion that he is right in his assessment. (You know: If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge…if I have faith so as to move mountains…)
If every day, in everything, love was the motivating force and manner of expression, we would be living as God created us to live and the world would be the creation that God imagined in the beginning. That presumes, of course, that everyone in the world would have to buy into this way of living and it would take some time for us to practice thinking and acting that way.
But what a concept! Can you even imagine it? Some time ago my friend T.C. had a poster created for her workshops on positive thinking that said, “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.” My friend Ken Whitt just wrote a book about it, entitled God Is Just Love, soon to be published.*
The first step, it seems to me, is to reflect deeply and often on St. Paul’s words. Next comes the willingness to find small ways in our thinking and our speech to put it into practice. Then more practice and greater “love projects” undertaken until it becomes who we are. Why not start (or re-start) today and, if necessary, every day, because, as I noted recently in this blog, what the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…
*I’ll keep you posted on the publication of Ken’s book. I’ve read it and would recommend it to everyone, especially parents and those who love children and want us to survive without destroying the planet for a long time to come!