Give us, O God, thy Holy Spirit with the love of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Corinthians 13. 1-7.Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Let it be our ardent desire that we may have charity; and let its not give up striving for it. until it is ours. Charity is more to be desired than arc all things else. It eclipses everything in heaven and on earth; it is eternal, and shall never fail, but shall unfold its glory and beauty in the perfect world to come. Faith and hope shall cease when we sec God as he is; but charity remains, and shall then burn with a brighter flame for ever. For God is charity, or love; and love is the bliss eternal.
How poor is he who is without love; and how rich he who loves, even though he in other things be the poorest of all men! How empty is a life without love, but how full and beautiful with it! Love makes of the beggar a prince, of the cottage a palace; and our perishable belongings it transforms into everlasting riches. Without it all that you have is nothing. Your money, your jewels, your knowledge, your works; without love they have no value. But if you love, and use your talents in the service of love, all are beautiful and good, and bring forth blessed fruit. Let love live and reign in you, and you have all things, you are independent of all, and the servant of all. Love all with the love of Christ, and you shall feel continual sorrow while you are on earth, but shall still live a blessed life. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” (Solomon’s Song 8, 7). How shall we with sufficient emphasis urge upon one another the importance of having charity? How shall we praise it as it deserves? Let the apostle speak; his words need no interpretation; but let the Holy Ghost impress them on our soul, and let us keep them and ponder them all in our heart: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” — Do you not feel a burning desire that you may have charity? If you do, a spark has already been kindled in you. Go, then, and do that which the apostle says; then shall the sacred fire burn in your heart, though trouble and temptations will at times cause it to burn with but a feeble flame. Do this; for charity is worth it!
Merciful God, give us thy Holy Spirit, that we may have charity. Make us to see our love of self, and let it humble us; and pour out the love of Christ in our heart. Do this, O God, by thy Holy Spirit. Amen.