“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

1 Corinthians 13:4

Monday, 2 November 2020

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

In the coming days, I would like to look at the fruits of the Holy Spirit. There are nine in total – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I want to begin with love. When asked, “What is love?” many of us may struggle to answer this question. We may give different answers based on how we have experienced love in our lives.

Saint Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, gives us an image of what love is and what it is not. Sometimes love seems to be the opposite of our human tendencies. At times we are envious of others and the things they may have. We boast when we feel we have done better than others. We pride ourselves at being the best, especially when we are good at something. There are times when we are motivated by our own interests, instead of the needs of others. Even little things anger us. We hold grudges against those who wrong us. We omit or bend the truth at times to suit our own agendas. All these are human behaviours that we see in ourselves every day.

The challenge is how to overcome these human behaviours. Are we capable of putting others first and of freeing ourselves from inordinate attachments? Perhaps for us to be able to give and receive the kind of love described by Saint Paul, we need to work on being truthful to others and ourselves. Despite our weaknesses, St Paul offers us the answer. “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Are we open to this kind of love? Are we willing to protect others? Do we readily trust? Have we lost hope? Do we give up too easily?

Gracious Lord,

Help me to learn to love unconditionally and may I not put my selfish interest before others.


Ms Nonto Thulile Mhlongo

Nonto Mhlongo works at the St Lucia Retreat and Training Centre giving retreats. She has completed the spiritual direction training programme with the Jesuit Institute.

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