Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The Greatest of These
Topic: Love, Compassion, & Kindness
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 my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 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 our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect 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 understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Letter to the Corinthians
Wilson, Andrew, editor. World Scripture II. Universal Peace Federation, 2011, p. 653 [1 Corinthians 13].
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1 Corinthians 13 [Eknath Easwaran’s commentary on St. Paul]
One of the main founders of the Christian tradition, in his early days Saint Paul was Saul, a Jewish tent-maker in Tarsus (Asia Minor, now Turkey) soon after the time of Jesus. He was a persecutor of the early Christians until he experienced a cataclysmic vision while traveling to Damascus. Later he said of this experience: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me… His many letters of inspiration, exhortation, and practical guidance to various struggling congregations make up a significant part of the New Testament; this famous passage (1 Corinthians 13, RSV) was written to the group in Corinth. Paul traveled and taught tirelessly throughout Asia Minor and Greece until his death in Rome, around 65 C.E.
—Eknath Easwaran, editor. God Makes the Rivers To Flow. Nilgiri Press, 2009 [1 Corinthians 13] p.p. 309 – 310.
Most essentially, true love is grounded in divine love. Love or compassion, being the core of Ultimate Reality, is manifested by the saint who can rise above self-centered attachments and desires. As God created for the sake of His creatures, so true love is totally committed to the welfare of the beloved. As God is absolute, eternal and unchanging, true love never changes and cannot be defeated by the vicissitudes of life. As God is the Parent of all humanity and the creator of all things, so a person with true love is impartial and all-embracing. Therefore, true love is displayed to individuals who are deeply united with God and fulfill God’s purpose for their life.
—Andrew Wilson, editor. World Scripture II. Universal Peace Federation, 2011, p. 653 [1 Corinthians 13].