Reflecting on I Corinthians 12:31-13:13
When I drift off to sleep at night I try to recall all the radical love that came in my direction that day. It washes over me like a delicious warm ocean wave, and like the ocean it rocks me gently to sleep.
There’s something about love. We might not be able to define it, but we sure know it when we get it. And bringing it to mind makes it “really present” all over again.
And then this thought occurs to me: Since God is love, might it be that the only thing God CANNOT do is withhold love? Maybe God is restricted in only one thing: God can’t stop loving us, madly, unconditionally, eternally.
At a rosary for a friend’s dad the other night the deacon read from the Rites, “God takes all of our good works with us to heaven.” Those tiny good works that we’ve forgotten minutes after we offered them? It turns out God has remembered every single one of them and has them stored up for us to take into eternity.
That image brings to mind the proud parent who has kept all our pictures, and trophies, and—yikes!—even our report cards, and somehow sees a beautiful, brilliant athlete/scholar there, despite all evidence to the contrary.
It’s a delicious circle. God is LOVE, and because love never fails, God’s love keeps circling around us in an eternal loop of patience and kindness, never brooding over our sins or rejoicing over our wrongdoing.
Huh. So THAT’S why God takes our good works to heaven with us. Loving others creates the perfect joy that is the DNA of eternity. Or, as Victor Hugo wrote so beautifully in Les Miserables, “To love another person is the see the face of God.”
In what ways have you experienced, by giving or receiving, the kind of love in I Corinthians 12:31-13:13?
This column was inspired by the recent deaths of four beloved Christians, each of whom loved so magnificently that it’s wonderful to imagine heaven bursting at the seams as they entered it, so much love did they bring with them. Wayne Hendrix, Angela DiMartini, Jimmy McNamee, and Wayne Easley have each gone home to God in the past two weeks. Watch for miracles.
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).