What Love does All the Time by Albert Joseph Mary Shamon
The passages below are taken from the book, “Our Lady says: Love People” by Rev. Albert Joseph Mary Shamon.
“Love is always patient and kind;
1ove is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth.
It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NJB)
Paul’s masterful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is divided into three parts.
In the first part, he describes what love is. It is patient. It is kind.
In the second part, he lists what love is not. It is (1) not jealous. It is (2) not pompous, (3) nor inflated, (4) nor rude, (5) nor self-seeking, (6) nor quick-tempered. It does (7) not brood over injuries, (8) nor rejoice over wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth.
In the third part, Paul describes what is the permanent attitude of love, what it does all the time. The Greek word panta is translated as a noun “all things” and as the object of the verbs bears, believes, hopes and endures. I think panta is better translated as an adverb “continually,” “all the time.”
Love makes a hollow square. It conquers the enemies of love on all four sides, “all the time.” “There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.”
1. “LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS.”
The Greek word (stegei) might be translated as “covers” instead of “bears.” In the presence of the faults of others, love puts her finger to her lips. When a hurtful particle lodges on the shell of an oyster, and it cannot eject it, the oyster covers the intruder with a precious substance extracted from its very life and turns the intruder into a beautiful pearl. A pearl is the crystallized tear of an oyster. Error hates truth; selfishness hates love; but love always puts a kind construction even on hate.
Why does love do this? Because we are called “to be conformed to the image” of the Son of God (Rom. 8:29), “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps” (1 Peter 2:21). “He was spurned. . . a man of suffering. . . though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter. . . he was silent” (Isaiah 53:3, 7). And when He did open His mouth, it was to excuse those who had crucified Him: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke. 23:34).
True love puts up with a lot from people, just as God does. It bears hurts in silence, conceals injuries as much as possible. True love tends to see good in everyone and feels that in the end good will triumph over evil. This trust springs from hope, a hope based on the promises of God. “Those who hope in the Lord shall never be put to shame.”
I think it was Rollo May who said that if we wish to change a person, we must accept him as he is and if we wish to change ourselves we must accept ourselves as we are. God does that, doesn’t He? So must we.
Therefore, St. James says, “Do not, my brothers, speak ill of one another” (James 4:11). James condemns fault finding. A censorious attitude means one is paying too much attention to the conduct of others. But worse, it can mean paying too much attention, not in order to help, but in order to criticize. This lumps one in with the devil, for it is written of him that he is “the accuser of our brothers” (Revelations 12:10).
2. “LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS.”
Love believes in people all the time. People are always asking us to believe in them, to trust them. “Trust me,” says the politician, the salesman, the promoter. Once I used to do my banking in a Trust Company. I did not know whether I was supposed to trust them or they were supposed to trust me. No matter, trust is vital not only to business, but also to life itself.
A house caught fire one night. The parents and children ran outside. A 5-year-old, however, eluded the parents and was trapped on the second story. The father saw the child in the window surrounded by smoke. He yelled, “Jump, I’ll catch you!” But the child cried out, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” The father answered, “That’s all right, I can see you. Jump!”
So love trusts in people even though it cannot see the results. It believes in them, because it sees the over arching goodness of God Who can bring good out of evil and that, despite appearances, His purpose will be accomplished.
Such belief in people brings out the best in them. Fr. Flannigan, the founder of Boystown, always said, “There is no such thing as a bad boy.” Don Bosco believed you could prevent a boy from becoming bad by loving him. Both of them worked wonders for the youth of America and Italy. When Gov. Al Smith was looking for a warden to bring order to Sing Sing Prison, he picked Lawes. When Lawes got the summons to the Governor’s office, Lawes said he was going to turn down the almost impossible task until Smith said to him, “Lawes, I picked you, be cause I believe in you. I know you are the man who can do the job.” Lawes said that that vote of confidence in him did the trick. He went to Sing Sing to become one of its finest wardens.
John Ruskin lamented: “If my parents would only love me less and trust me more.”
Trust is believing in another.
3. “LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.”
Love hopes even for the impossible for others, because the lover knows nothing is impossible for the Lord. Love hopes, therefore, first in the Lord. “They that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength like the eagle. . . shall run. . . shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). “Cursed is the man that trusteth man” (Jeremiah 18:5).
To Cromwell Cardinal Wolsley, when stripped of all office by Henry VIII, complained: “Had I but served my God with half the zeal I had served my king, he would not now in my old age have left me naked to my enemies.” Wolsley had forgotten the words of the Psalmist: “Put not your trust in princes” (Psalms 114:2).
Hope in the Lord begets hope for others. Love does not give up on people, or give in to evil no matter how great, just as Jesus never gave up on people. This demands constant and ardent prayer. We can do nothing without God; but with God, there is nothing we cannot do or hope for.
The family hopes and prays that the alcoholic or the drug addict will be cured; the wife beaten or the child abused hopes and prays that the most hardened sinner will eventually turn to the Lord. Like the Good Samaritan, love sees life and hope even in one half-dead. Love believes, in the words of Cervantes, “Where there is life, there is hope.”
4. “LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS.”
The Greek verb Paul uses here for “endure” is huypomenein, which means not just to bear with people on occasion, once in a while, but to put up with people always, even to the very end of their lives, despite all their aberrations and vagaries. Just as a good mother never gives up on her wayward child, so love is steadfast, it holds on in moments and days and even years—–confident that somehow, someway, in God’s good time all will be well in the end.
Thus when love has no evidence to the contrary, it bears with people; believes the best about them; hopes for the best for them; and courageously endures, waits—–never gives up on them. Come what may, love is undismayed; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things—–all the time!
* * *
Love, as Paul has portrayed it in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, has been exemplified, realized, and incarnated in the life of Jesus.
In Jesus, love walked the earth. For in Him patience and kindness met. Never was He jealous, pompous, inflated, rude. Never did He seek His own interests. Never was He quick-tempered, nor one to brood over injuries. He rejoiced not over wrongdoing, but with the truth. He bore every sling and arrow aimed at Himself. He believed in people always, hoped for them continually and endured all their shortcomings, confident that to those who love God all things would work together unto good in the end.
His invitation still stands;
“Come, follow me. Walk in love!”