Sometimes the most moving and profound changes are set in motion with a very small, very familiar piece of life. Sometimes, if one is not attuned to listening and watching and being a part of the whole of life one could miss it.
I have been going to the Adoration Chapel at Blessed Trinity for quite a long time now, getting close to a year. Some weeks it’s only once, others it is almost every day. I sit in the corner of one of rows, to be out-of-the-way of others as they come in, and, too, to be as undisturbed as I can be so as to listen to the “still, small voice of God”. Sometimes it is so difficult for me to turn off the chattering in my mind all I can do is pray with my books of prayers written by others. Sometimes I have to put in ear plugs so the small noises are shut out of my conscienceness. Sometimes, as a gift from the Mighty One, I can slip into His presence and listen at His knee. And sometimes the Holy Spirit wafts through my own spirit and brings his gift of understanding.
Yesterday was a Holy Spirit day. The following is what I learned from the Breath of God moving through my spirit.
1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4 to 8 are some of the most often quoted and prayed of the letters of St. Paul. His writings on love are used at numerous weddings world-wide. They are some of the most beautiful words Paul set down to us fellow Christians as well as to humans every where on this Big Blue Marble.
Verse 4: Love is patient – Oh Lord, how I struggle with this! Being patient, not getting stressed because the line is too long. Not trying to out think God on what should be happening right this moment in my life. Patient in the face of adversity. Patient in the face of everyday living where people seem to push everyone else out of their way. Patience in this time of life, whatever that time is, with God’s plans being the perfect plan and mine being second to his. Patience to the point of immobility when that is the perfect response. Patience is now a verb in my mind.
Love is kind – Not just nicey nice, truly kind. To constantly remind oneself that every living creature on this Earth is created by God. Not by me, to direct and to push, and to order about. Even when that other creature in front of me does not seem to see any other person in this world at all. Kind to the expenditure of all of my personal effort. Kind to point of my being second. Second to what God is doing, right here, right now. The first response of mine is to be kind.
Love is not jealous, or envious, or snobbish, nor does it put on airs. – Oh my Lord! Jealous? Who me? Oh yea, me. It is a subtle little demon, sneaking into my thoughts when I least expect it. ‘Why do they have that and not me. I could use it so much better than they. I could be so much more expansive and helping if I only had more money.’ Holy Spirit shows that those with the least in this world are most often the least jealous and the most generous. Where I am, what I am doing, where I am living, what my circumstances are, all of these tangible things are dust that can be blown away in an instant. To be content, to be truly happy in this world, is to see each day all the gifts given from a generous God.
Verse 5 – Love is not rude. – Rude. Me? When patience eludes me, when my self rears up to cry ‘what about me’, oh yea Rude. We are all quick to point out others, especially strangers, whom we deem to be rude. When we are stuck in traffic are we nice and kind?? Maybe not. If love is the motivating factor in our whole being, would love mutter ‘that guy up there must be an idiot’? Would love honk? Would love slide in front of the struggling old lady in the grocery line? (Even if you were oh so late?) Would love tsk and glare at the young mother so harassed and weary with the screaming child in the grocery store? Love reaches out with whatever it has right then.
Love is not irritable. – Oh boy! I get irritable and oh so self-righteous over such very small things. Do I truly think I can live everyone’s life better that they are? Am I a bit (or more) ill-mannered at situations and people who I deem less than me? Oh Lord, calm me! Smooth down my self-centeredness. Remove from me this penchant for looking down my nose at what I have decided is just not right. May I always, forever, talk to you first!!!!!
Love is not angry. – Anger. Terrible, scary, out of control, destructive anger. It is the exact opposite of love. Love builds, anger destroys. Anger sits inside waiting for opportunity to leak out. To wash everything with a tinge of red. Count to ten before speaking the therapists say. Take a walk. Breathe. In those moments pray! The antidote for anger is God’s great love. It is a natural feeling, but it is only a feeling. Feelings just are. Anger is notice that something right here, right now, needs to be addressed. If I can’t see it through the red curtain, Lord God, help me step out of the situation for you to place your hand on my shoulder and remove the curtain.
Love does not keep a record of wrongs. – Every time I think I have let something go, there is that scenario popping back up again. I look at the wound, probing it to see if it still hurts. I open up the locked cabinet to see if the result might have changed. Did those that hurt me ever figure it out? Oh Lord, help me to let it go. Help me to leave all of those hurts to your healing care. Help me to have selective memory, may those wrongs and hurts just fade like morning mist in the light of our love.
Verse 6. Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. – Ah, can this be blazoned across the TV screen, the pads, the phones, the every type of communication device in the modern world??? Happy with the truth. God’s truth. True truth. We are all stuck somewhere between Pontius Pilate’s “what is truth” and “I am the Way the Truth and the Life”. We can all point out others untruths, but do any of us see our own? A little “white” lie is OK, right? It doesn’t really hurt anything, right? Only the soul. Only leaving a smudge on it where a bigger lie can push in. Truth is tough sometimes. Really hard. Truth about abortion is it kills baby humans. Truth is freedom isn’t free. Truth about lies is they feed on each other. The only remedy is truth.
Verse 7. Love never gives up, its faith, hope and patience never fail. There is no limit to its forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. – Never giving up. What a gift! It’s so easy to give up. To quit. To just sit down. Lord, sometimes I am so very, very weary of not giving up. My tiny little self has limits. It has so very little power. St. Paul, how can this be in me? “In my weakness is God’s strength” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Ever the teacher, Paul reminds me that all things are possible with God.
Verse 8. – Love never fails, love is eternal. God is love. That is where all love comes from. Heaven is chocked full of love. It is love we all are seeking. Love is the motivator for every one of us. As Paul says in verse 13, “Faith, hope and love remain; but the greatest of these is love.” In seeking love, Lord, let me always start with you, the Source, Summit and Center.
In your precious name, Lord Jesus, Amen
Thanks be to God!!!!!