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  My Witness

Vol. 16, No. 4, November, 2011

"Love Is Patient and Kind"
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid In this teaching, we will accept the word of God, the Scriptures, into our hearts and minds, letting them give light to us. The Scriptures are the inspired word of God which has the power to accomplish what it says, for us. Yes, for us, right here, right now. The Scripture we are reflecting upon is 1 Corinthians 13:4a; Read these passages slowly, prayerfully.

As you read the Scripture, in your heart ask the Holy Spirit to explain to you the message that the Lord has for you personally. Do not doubt that the Lord Jesus will do this for you, because that is why he came, so that you can get to know and to love Jesus. "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:25f). Tell the Holy Spirit what you expect from him...something like this: "Holy Spirit, Jesus said that you would teach me all things and I believe him. Teach me to always render to Jesus what is his! Teach me to love Jesus with my whole heart, giving him praise and adoration with every breath -- teach me that the love of Jesus conquers all! Thank you, 0 Holy Spirit."

In the first four verses of chapter 13, Paul proclaims that the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit is love. Love is greater than the gift of tongues, greater than the gift of prophecy. Love is even greater than a gift of faith that would be able to move mountains. And then,

Paul says in verse 3, "If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

To sum it up, if I can do all kinds of great things, if I manifest gifts of the Spirit for the good of others; gifts like tongues, prophecy, faith -- but if I don't have love -- I gain nothing.

What is this love that is the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit? Paul begins to describe this love by saying: "Love is patient and kind..." Love is patient. Say that again and let it sink in -- love is patient.

Now, what is patience? What does it look like? From my own daily living, I know what the opposite, impatience, looks like. Every day I have countless opportunities to lose my patience. Being patient with family members is maybe the hardest of all. One of my family members does a good job of explaining things, but takes forever to do it. Actually, he takes forever to say anything. And it never fails that he has the need to explain just how complicated a situation is, right at the time that I have no time to listen.

Also, the hazard of grocery shopping is a constant reality -- the person in front of me at the check out line is taking forever, and apparently has nothing better to do than dispute prices with the cashier.

The common events described in these examples have the power to cause me to lose my patience unless I am on my guard, realizing that I am being tempted to be impatient, to be unkind. These events disturb my peace, they cause me to be upset with the persons who are disrupting my plans, throwing off my schedule, and using up my valuable time.

We have all been in these situations or similar ones. Call these situations to mind, right now, and ask yourself: Have you ever thought that my impatient or unkind thoughts and/or actions were a sin against love? Or, to put it in a positive way: in these situations do I think that keeping my patience, that having a kind word, is a matter of love?

The Holy Spirit explains the greatest of His gifts in these words: Love is patient and kind. This love is His gift, a gift that I am free to accept or to reject. This love is given to me for others: so that I can be kind to my family member; that I can be patient with the impatience of the grocery customer.

When the Lord revealed himself to Moses, he proclaimed: "The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...." (Ex. 34:6f).

The Lord knows our weakness and has patience with us (Psalm 103, verses 8-14). Thanks be to God!

Closing prayer: Thank you, Spirit of love, for teaching me that love is patient and kind! Continue to teach me about Jesus and about myself, my family, neighbors -- teach me to love! Thank you, 0 Holy Spirit! "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of that womb, Jesus! Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen!

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