Nothing Without Love

The theme of love is very evident in my life right now since we just finished reading St. Therese. It was very obvious that the basic message I was to take away from her autobiography was one of love. I was very touched by what she had to say, although I don’t even know how to describe it. As I was reading it seemed so simple and concrete, yet I cannot find the words. She says it so much better than I can. But the message of love has been coming up in many other ways as well, which I find may be easier to express.

At mass this past Sunday, the reading was from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, the well known reading about love: “Love is patient, love is kind…” In his homily, the priest talked about love. He talked about how it was a choice, not a feeling. He also said the same thing about faith. It is a choice, not a feeling. He said exactly what I had been praying about for the past week, through reading St. Therese. I keep finding these little confirmations in the messages that God wants me to hear, as the mass readings seem to coincide very well with my personal prayer.

We read the study edition of Story of a Soul, which has reflections at the end of each chapter. One of the chapter reflections discusses how we are so easily influenced by our surroundings and how much we let emotions influence us. It shared an example that if we hear a sad story on the radio in the morning, we will subconsciously spend the rest of the day feeling somewhat down. We may not completely understand why we are feeling this way, but it is because we are so ruled by emotion and feeling. Once again, I read about this in the book, and a few days later, I was hearing about it at mass. I just keep getting reminded that love cannot simply be just about feelings. St. Therese demonstrates this very well. When she encountered someone difficult to love, she had to look past the way she felt about them. She would make a conscious effort to choose do everything she could to love that person.

Also in 1 Corinthians 13, the first 3 verses talk about how you are nothing without love. The following song by Matt Redman is based off of this passage, and the verses of the song are basically straight from Scripture:

Jesus, I could sing in the tongues of men and angels,
But if I have not love, I am just a clanging cymbal, and empty sound.
Jesus, I could sing in the tongues of men and angels,
But if I have not love, I am just a clanging cymbal, and empty sound.

This is a love song, this is a love song,
Jesus, a love song to You.
A song of devotion, a reverent passion,
Savior, a love song to You.

Jesus, I could pray with a faith that moves a mountain,
But if I have not love, it is just a noise resounding, an empty sound.
Jesus, I could pray with a faith that moves a mountain,
But if I have not love, it is just a noise resounding, an empty sound.

Again as love has been coming up so much in the past couple weeks, this song/Scripture passage just really stood out to me. Even if we appear to have everything, we are nothing without love. If we appear externally to do everything right by praying and having faith, it is nothing without love. Our prayer and faith has to be put into action with our love. It is not good enough to just say we believe without actually living it out (with love). At the heart of it, we are all called to love. St. Therese determined that love is what comprised all vocations because regardless of what we are called to do, we first and foremost must love. Love is the expression of our faith and everything we are.

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