A Spiritual Exercise: The Love Chapter Paraphrased and Personalized
Dec 05, 2019
Joseph F. Schmidt, noted lecturer, spiritual director, retreat leader, and author of “Praying Our Experiences,” “Praying with Thérèse of Lisieux,” and “Everything Is Grace,” shares this paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, the Love Chapter (original author unknown).
I invite you to read these statements as a spiritual exercise and see yourself in them and open yourself to being love.
Opening to Love
If I live my life to perfection, doing what is right and good on behalf of others, but act with compulsion and without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I take care of the needs of everybody in the world, especially the poor, because of my own need to help, but am without love even for myself, then I am nothing at all.
If I am efficient and successful in all that I do for the sake of justice, but act out of drivenness and without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am cultured and refined, and in touch with the pain of existence, but am absent from the pain of persons in the present moment who need my empathy; and if I act without love and compassion, then I am nothing at all.
If I have the gifts of wisdom, insight, and understanding, but am not engaged with those around me in the present moment and am without a spirit of compassion and love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am faithful, loyal, and obedient, and never deviate from the law, but am judgmental and blaming, and am without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I live in a pain-free world of dreams and plans, enjoying optimism and pleasurable options, but am not addressing present problems and am avoiding people in actual distress and am without love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am strong and powerful, but lose my best self in a spirit of resentment, retaliation, and vindictiveness, and know nothing of the vulnerability of love, then I am nothing at all.
If I am settled and accommodating, holding onto a sense of distance and calm, but am not journeying inward to know and appreciate my weaknesses and gifts, and am neglecting my own legitimate calling to love myself, then I am nothing at all.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is always patient and kind;
it is never jealous;
Love is never boastful or conceited;
it is never rude or selfish;
it does not take offense, and is not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in truth;
it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love never fails, never ceases.