Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 13, 1-13

Though I command languages both human and angelic -- if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.

And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains -- if I am without love, I am nothing.

Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned -- if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; love 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.

Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if tongues, they will fall silent; and if knowledge, it will be done away with.

For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly;

but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with.

When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways.

Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known.

As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is one of Paul’s best-known passages, and rightly so, because it reaches one of the high points of the Gospel of love. When referring to the love of the Gospel, Paul uses the Greek term “agape”, which, for example, was used less often than “eros” and “philia.” Christian love was so unknown that it was necessary to find a new word for it. Indeed, inconceivable for humans, it was a love that had Jesus as its greatest model. It was a disinterested, gratuitous, and even unjustified love, because it continued to act – which is the least we could say – even when it received nothing in return. Agape is God’s love poured out in our hearts. It is a “charism” in the sense that it is a gift given to us freely by God. The apostle can say that it is the greatest charism because, in fact, it is God himself. Therefore agape – the gospel love - cannot be the fruit of our effort. Agape must be welcomed, guarded, nourished, strengthened, and made to grow. This is why it is presented as a “path” that must be travelled. Above all, however, it is a gift. If this gift is lacking, it is useless to speak the language of angels, useless to have prophetic powers, useless even to have faith or to deny oneself. Gospel love is the substance of salvation, because it is God himself. Those who welcome it are forbearing, kind, humble, patient, good, and merciful. This list contains the steps that mark out the path of perfection. Every believer should walk along them: it is the greatest way of all, and it is pointed out to everyone. Without love, everything is nothing; love is the source of all good; only love is eternity from now.