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2013-08-18 message

posted Aug 19, 2013, 8:38 PM by St. John's Webmaster

Continuing with the attributes of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4, love does not boast/does not parade itself. The roots of this characteristic of love are in the relationship we are called to have with our neighbor. Boasting is a self-centered activity. It creates an opposition between the one who speaks or acts boastfully and his audience. Whether directly or indirectly, on purpose or accidentally, boasting is an action that belittles or diminishes the other. This is in direct contrast with St. Paul’s admonishment to the Thessalonians: “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11).

The latter is a characteristic of love, for true love is always directed outwards, as St. Paul reminds us a bit later on: “love is not self-seeking/does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5). Indeed, we are able to say that God is love (1 Jn. 3:16) because God exists as three persons in a communion of love. The Son of God is indeed called the Son of the Father’s love (1 Col. 13) and the Father’s love continues to be poured out upon His Son and upon all of creation through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). God knows that, after the fall, love can easily be misappropriated and turned inwards. As a result, His commandment in the Old Testament is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The commandment is intensified with the incarnation: through Christ we are commanded to love one another not as we love ourselves, but as He has loved us. And just in case we had any doubts as to what that love is, He says “greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). The aspect of love that Christ emphasizes here is philanthropic self-sacrifice. Such is God’s love and in order to be able to love with this love we are in need of His grace and His strength. We need to experience God’s love; to have our eyes opened so that we can see His presence in our lives.

Let us come before God with humility and offering to Him our love, that He may transform it and return it to us as His divine and perfect outpouring love.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter