Love: the surpreme good. It comes from and is at best a part of God. Love is more than a characteristic of God, it is his character. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, with Christ in full view, St. Paul wrote this stiring description of love:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
(a) When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.
But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (verses 1-13)
Fittenly, love is the last word in this chapter. The heart needs love, and the Christian must allow every thought, action, and attitude to be ruled by love. It is the Character of our God.
Note on (a): Paul “put away childish things” with decision and finality. This is a normal process for normal growth. The child strives to be an adult and works at becoming one with deliberation. The spiritual process is also like that. Out of a spiritual nature comes the desire for maturity, fullness and adulthood.