Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Way of Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Some translations have ‘Love never fails’ instead of ‘Love never ends’. 'Love never ends' would seem better, because sometimes love does fail, doesn’t it? But then we might ask, was it love that failed or was it something other than love? Attachment maybe? Infatuation? Perhaps love never does fail. For if it is really love, it ‘insists not on its own way’, but merely is. In that sense love can never fail. Like sincerity, love is never wrong.


Jaliya said...

Hi, Alex ... I've been following your blog for a while now ... It's become a daily read :-)

I read this passage from Corinthians at my mother's funeral seven years ago ...

There is a book you might want to read if you're interested in what love is ... It was published in 2000 and has become one of my constant companions ... It's called *A General Theory of Love* -- by Thomas Lewis, MD, et. al ... To my eye, this book is an immaculate blend of solid science and an exquisite poetic sensibility ... Love, in all its expressions -- from the biological to the ineffable -- is explored ...

Thanks for your beautiful blog :-)

Alex said...

Yes, I noticed you before.Thanks for the feedback and the book. Here's one for you that I will be posting on: 'The Way to Love' by Anthony De Mello - good for broken hearts.

Jaliya said...

Hi Alex -- I've just read your piece on Anthony de Mello ... Beautiful! Wasn't he a spiritual scamp! ;-D I've been reading his book *Awareness* for years ... It never fails to jar me, even for a moment, from sleep (so to speak) ...

You write that *The Way to Love* is "good for broken hearts" -- Who doesn't have one of those, eh ...

He seems to say again and again to us, "Yes, your heart is broken ... AND IT STILL WORKS! Get going now, and love!"

His humour is tough and ironic and down in the dirt with the mustard seed; his bullshit detector is impeccable!

Do you know if he and Thomas Merton ever met?

Alex said...

This is the only book of his I have read. I think I have probably been avoiding him! He is merciless. I will have to make a point of looking at his books next time in the bookstore.
No I don't know if they met, are they of a kind?

Jaliya said...

Alex, I don't know if the two men ever met. I'm going to look into this ... I'm also reminded of Krishnamurti ... in the bare-bones, no dross way of making spiritual matters so practical ... Very refreshing, and yes, no B.S.!

Here are some words from de Mello's *Awareness*:

"The chances that you will wake up are in direct proportion to the amount of truth you can take without running away."

"You want freedom? Here it is: Drop your false ideas. See through people. If you see through yourself, you will see through everyone. Then you will love them."

"I'm going to write a book someday and the title will be *I'm an Ass, You're an Ass*. That's the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you're an ass. It's wonderful. When people tell me, 'You're wrong,' I say, 'What can you expect of an ass?'"

"When your illusions drop, you're in touch with reality at last, and believe me, you will never again be lonely ... Loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is cured by contact with reality."

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond