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Let My Life be the Proof
Sunday, September 02 2012

Lessons from the Love Chapter...

Recently, I was inspired by a song, a song that reflects ideas from 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

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.  -1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NAB

This chapter of 1 Corinthians is often referred to as the love chapter.  It includes verses like "Love is patient, love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)," "Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8)," and, of course, "So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)."  These verses have inspired generations of Christians and teach us what love is really about.

Before the love chapter tells us how wonderful love can be, it begins by telling us why we must have love in the first place.  Basically, St. Paul describes someone who can speak beautifully about the faith, become a great theologian, be an example of strength, or is willing to give up everything, including their life, in the name of Christ - a true model of how to be a great Christian.  However, St. Paul tells us that being a model Christian, as described in this verse, means little if we do not have love.

Another way of stating St. Paul's point is to say that it matters less what you do and more why you do it.  What drives you, what motivates you, to be a "model" Christian or Catholic?  Are you looking for the praise of your fellow Catholics?  Do you lift yourself up just to look down on others?  Do you enjoy the fame or notoriety that comes from being a great Catholic speaker, writer, theologian, or service worker?  Paul challenges us to examine our motives and ensure that our motivation is in line with our actions.

In many ways, St. Paul is describing to us how to become a saint.  As Catholics, we are often called to live saintly lives - striving to live our lives like the saints that came before us.  But why do we try to imitate them?  Are we hoping that, one day, our image will be on the back of a prayer card?  Or, do we secretly wish that someone would write a book about our lives?  If this is our motivation, we are headed down the wrong path.  Instead, our motivation should be love - the love we have for others and the love we have for God.

The song "The Proof of Your Love" by for KING & COUNTRY (www.forkingandcountry.com) inspired me to write today's message.  The song reflects 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 with some modern equivalents.  One verse states, "If I speak with a silver tongue, convince a crowd, but don't have love, I leave a bitter taste with every word I say."  The band beautifully applies this verse to modern life, and it was the chorus that truly spoke to me:

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love,
Let my love look like You,
And what You're made of,
How You lived, how You died,
Love is sacrifice,
So let my life be the proof,
The Proof of Your love

Are you a good Catholic, a good Christian?  Can others see Christ's work in your life?  Can others see God's love shining through you?  As the song tells us, let your life be the proof of God's love.  Let your actions and your words show the world how great and awesome our God is.  When others seek Christ, let them see Him through you.  The blessings and grace that Jesus has poured over your life are proof to the world of His existence.

It's amazing how a simple song can put into question everything that we are doing.  For me, personally, I had to question everything that I am doing and everything I stand for.  Why did I create this website?  Why am I trying to write a book?  Why do I hope to speak and teach on the faith, one day?  Love has always been my intent, but how faithfully am I keeping with that goal?  It opened my eyes and rocked my world - all in the 10-second chorus of a song.

My hope is that the words of this song, along with the words of 1 Corinthians 13, will speak to your heart.  May you always stay focused on what should truly motivate us to becoming better Catholics and Christians.  Love is very powerful and brings many blessings to our lives, and we must always keep it as the center and focus of everything we do.

 

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