Tag Archives: hope

God Never Fails

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  

~ 1 Corinthians 13

This passage is probably one of the most well-known passages of the New Testament and was the second reading this past Sunday in Mass. Particularly the middle section, “Love is patient, love is kind…” These words have been set to music, used at weddings, in anniversary cards, on candles and plaques for the home, and so on. Even those who may not be familiar with the Bible have likely heard these words before. Many of us can rattle off the passage by heart, having heard or read it so many times. The beauty of these words touches people. But the popularity of these verses can sometimes cause us to forget their true meaning.

I have heard people say when planning a wedding that they do not want to use this reading because it is “overdone” or “cliché.” Yes it may be read a lot, and yes it is used in many weddings, but I believe it is so popular because it rings with truth. This beautiful passage describes the ultimate love. Not only between a husband and wife, but between God and ourselves. It describes God Himself and the qualities we should strive for here on earth.

There can be no love outside of God. God is love. (1 John 4:8) So what if we try reading the same passage, but with “God” in place of the word “love.”

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have God, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have God, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have God, I gain nothing. God is patient, God is kind. He is not jealous, is not pompous, He is not inflated, He is not rude, He does not seek its own interests, He is not quick-tempered, He does not brood over injury, He does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails.”

When you read the passage in this way, it forces you to look beyond the love between a man and a woman. It forces you to go deeper. In today’s society, many people are of the opinion that because they live a good life, are kind and loving to each other, that is all they need to do. They do not feel the need for religion, for faith, for church or prayer. Spread happy thoughts, live happily, help the needy. While these are all excellent things, without the true love that can only be found through God, without God Himself in our life, what does it matter? Many people put their faith in themselves, in hard work, in the people they love instead of placing that faith in God. Without God, we are nothing. We can do all sorts of wonderful things with our lives, but if we do not have God at the very center, we are still lacking.

Since God is love, the qualities that Paul writes of love are true of describing God Himself. God is patient. Although we may sin time and time again, although we may stray from His path, He waits for us with open arms every time. God is kind. He is not jealous or rude or boastful or selfish. In fact, God is so kind and giving that He gave us His only Son, forgiving us of all wrongdoing, of all injury. He does not rejoice because we make a mistake, does not revel in punishing, but loves us unconditionally. God bears all things. He believes in us, He hopes for us to turn to Him, He endures our failings and awaits our return to His never-ending grace. He never fails. No matter what difficulties we may encounter, He will never fail us. We can always rely on Him. How amazing is that?

 Knowing that this beautiful scripture describes the ultimate love that is only found through God and is God, we must go a bit further. We are called to love one another as God our Father loves us. And not just to love our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends, but to love our enemies as well. We are called to extend this love that Paul writes about to everyone. To truly exemplify God through our own expression of love. We are called to be patient and kind. We are called to be forgiving of wrongdoings and to rejoice in the truth of our Lord and Savior rather than to be jealous or involved only in ourselves. We are called to hold our temper, to let go of the hurts we have dealt with, to bear and endure all our troubles, all the faults against us with grace through Jesus Christ. We are called to always believe and hope in God and to share that with others. That is a lot to live up to! How in the world can we who are only human and are subject to so many earthly temptations hold up to such a standard? The answer? Only with God. We can try our very best, but as Paul tells us, without love, without God, we are nothing. Everything else we know will come to an end. We grow up, we learn more, things change. Friends, career, wealth, these can all come and go. All that we have constant is faith, hope, and love. And the greatest is love. The greatest is God. Because without God, without love, what have we to hope in? What do we put our faith in? The love of God must be at the center and greater than all else in our lives.

God knows us better than we even know ourselves. He created us in His own image and loves us with a love so deep, so pure, so true, that we cannot even comprehend it. This beautiful scripture shows us a glimpse of the power and wonder of that love. God can work in many ways. Perhaps the so called “cliché” nature of this reading is in fact God spreading these words of love even to those who may not fully believe. I know I myself have these words in my home in many places, but so often I glance at the familiar verses without truly thinking about the meaning behind them. And so today my prayer is that we all may take these familiar words to heart. To keep God at the center of our lives and to always be reminded of how truly amazing His love is. To learn how to better love our spouses, our family members, our friends, and even our enemies. To remember that without love, without God, we are nothing. And above all, to remember that even in the most trying of times, love prevails. Love never fails. God never fails.

Not Just Waiting

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our one year anniversary as a married couple!  I can’t believe it’s already been a full year!  Some people would tell us as we were preparing for the wedding or shortly after, “You know the first year is going to be tough.”  And truthfully?  Our first year has been great!  Of course any couple living together day in and day out will have arguments here and there.  But overall our first year as a married couple was great!  And I am so blessed and happy!  Even so, there are still those who hear we are celebrating our 1st anniversary and express a different sentiment.  It’s what I call the “Just wait…” sentiment.

You know it.  When something great is happening to you and someone has the “well just wait until…” comment.  Like when I was planning my wedding.  I was a calm bride.  I made up my mind early on not to get stressed out over silly little things and I held firm to that.  As the wedding grew closer people would ask “Are you losing your mind yet?” or  “Are you going crazy with all the planning?”  or even “I bet you can’t wait until it’s over.”  When I would respond that things were going great, I wasn’t stressed or losing my mind, and that I actually was enjoying planning the wedding, preparing for marriage, and being engaged, often I would get this response.  “Well, just wait until…”  followed by whatever crisis they thought I should be awaiting.  “Wait until you do your  seating chart.”  “Wait until you have to do favors.”  “Wait until the last week before the wedding.”  It was as if I couldn’t possibly be enjoying myself.  And if I was, it was only a matter of time until it ended.

And now that we’ve been married, I still hear it.  Just in a different form.  People will ask how my husband and I are doing.  When I tell them we’re doing great, I might get a response like “Well, just wait until you have kids, that will change!”  or “Just wait until you’ve been married a few years.”  or various other responses along those lines.  Now, I am not naive or living in a fantasy world where everything will always be perfect.  I know that, like any couple, we will have some times that are harder than others.  I know that once we have children things will change.  But why do I need to be waiting for it?  Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, I am simply enjoying what is going right.

We are blessed to be healthy, we have amazing family and friends who support us, we will soon be moving to start a new chapter with my husband’s new job, we are both content to spend time together playing board games, going to the park, watching movies.  We share our Catholic faith and are constantly inspiring each other to strive for an even deeper faith.  And we are more in love than ever.  So why would I spend this wonderful time we have together as a couple by waiting for something to change that?  I would much rather enjoy the time we spend together and be happy and thankful that I found someone I could share my life with. 

Romans 12:12 talks about rejoicing

“Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.”

Right now in our lives, we are rejoicing in hope.  We are blessed to not have numerous afflictions in our lives.  We pray together for God’s strength and guidance for ourselves and for others.  And we rejoice because we have hope!  Hope in Christ and hope for what is to come in our lives!  We are not “Just waiting” for something to go wrong.  We are living happily  and thanking God for what we have been given.  We are rejoicing in the wonders that God has already given us and in the hope for all the wonderful experiences we have yet to face!  Sure, we are still young in our marriage.  And sure there are things we simply haven’t experienced yet.  But instead of “just waiting,” we are joyfully living out our lives and looking forward to what lies ahead with hope for the future.  Because after all, no matter what lies ahead for us, there is no one I would rather have by my side than my wonderful husband.  And with God’s help, I know we will continue to be rejoicing together for the rest of our lives, no matter what.

I am a Catholic

There are many ways we define ourselves.  We might define ourselves by our physical characteristics (I am tall, black, white, blonde), by our relationships (I am a mother, a father, a wife, a son), by our occupation (I am a doctor, a student, a lawyer), by our stage in life (I am in college, in high school, retired, just married),  and the list goes on and on.  These various definitions need to be prioritized to see who we truly are.  Are we more concerned with our occupation or our relationships?  With our relationships or with our physical attributes?  I often think of this for myself.  How do I prioritize the varies definitions that I fit into?  What would the first few terms be that I use to define myself?  I am a wife.  I am a daughter.  I am a sister.  But first and foremost: I am a Catholic

Being a Catholic comes first in my life because it defines everything else that is important to me.  Being a Catholic is not about following rules, standing up and sitting down in Mass, chanting prayers, and carrying rosaries.  Being a Catholic is about following Christ.  It is about striving to live like our Lord commanded.  It is about growing closer to God, helping to spread God’s love with everyone around us, and worshipping the Lord for all we have been given.   Among the many things we have been given, being Catholic gives me even more.

Catholic is my religion and my faith.  My faith in Jesus and His saving grace!  Being Catholic offers me a way to pray using my own words or prayers given to us by our Lord and various holy Saints throughout time.  It gives me an opportunity to worship God in His holy church each Sunday.  To praise Him in song many times throughout the Mass.  It means I can receive my Lord in the flesh each Sunday during Holy Communion.  It means I can trace back the roots of my religion to Jesus himself.  I can follow a line of men who have served as the human leader of Christ’s Church here on earth starting when Jesus said to Peter, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)   From Peter to Linus to Anacletus to Clement and on and on throughout time I can trace a line all the way up to Pope John Paul II and now to Pope Benedict XVI.  And what’s more, Jesus has told us that the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against His Church!  I know that despite the bad times, our Church will stay strong in faith and will be protected for all of time.

Being a Catholic gives me hope.  I have hope for whatever lies ahead because of my faith.  I know that my God will always be with me.  I know that what we have here on earth is only temporary.  That our time spent here, while it seems long to us, is only a small portion of eternity!  An eternity that we can spend with Christ because of His great love for us and His sacrifice for us on the cross.  Even in the worst of times, I have hope because of my faith.

Being a Catholic allows me to love.  1 John 4:16 says “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”  Without God, we cannot know love.  Without God’s love for us, how could we begin to love anyone at all?  God loves us so much that He creates us all with free will.   He loves us enough to let us make our own decisions.  He loves us through our triumphs and through our mistakes.  He loves us despite all our sins.  To remain in God, we must believe in His deep and everlasting love for us and show Him that we love Him too.  We can show our love for God through our thoughts, our actions, our words, and our relationships.  To live like Christ lived we show God we love Him.  To speak the word of God and spread hope to others, we show God we love Him.  And through the love we have in God, we are capable of building our own loving relationships.  It is because of God’s love for me and my love for Him that I am capable of being in love with my husband and being loved by him in return.

Certainly I must say that the Catholic religion is more than just what I have listed.  And I do not believe that only Catholics will be in Heaven, nor am I condemning other religions.  But if someone were to ask me to define myself, I would say I am a Catholic.  I am a Catholic because I can’t imagine my life any other way.  I am proud of my Catholic faith and religion.  I love that through the Catholic  faith, I grow closer to God.  With millions of other Catholics around the world,  I pray and praise God and I hope in salvation.  I know the love that God has for me.  And I love Him.   And through that love I can know how to love others.   I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, and many more things.  But I am nothing without my Catholic faith and my God.