Monday, February 1, 2010

The wedding passage

One of the readings this week was the love passage from 1 Corinthians. You know, the one that's read at nearly every wedding (ours included) and that you can easily zone out when you hear the first "Love is patient..."

However, that passage was turned on its head this week when I read a short commentary that suggested you replace "love" with your name. Suddenly it becomes:

Elizabeth is patient, Elizabeth is kind. She is not jealous, she is not pompous, she is not inflated, she is not rude, she does not seek her own interests, she is not quick-tempered, she does not brood over injury, she does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Elizabeth bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Elizabeth never fails.

No longer is the passage just about some abstract concept of love. It is about how I am reflecting the love of God - or perhaps more acutely, how I am not reflecting it.

I start off pretty well - I'm fairly patient, I'm kind, not too jealous. And then it all starts to unravel. I wouldn't say I'm specifically pompous or inflated, but I certainly do struggle with pride. I'm still brooding over an injury, though I thought I long ago forgave the offender. And so on.

What a helpful passage for us to assess ourselves. Is this the type of love I'm reflecting in my marriage? To my family? And then to extend it, is this what my friends and neighbors and coworkers would say of me? What a stranger in the supermarket would say of me?

The next time I'm lulled into the complacency of thinking I'm a generally good person because I haven't committed any mortal sins, this passage will remind me that Christian love is much more than that. I'm probably not going to always get it right (thank God for forgiveness), and certainly not if I think I can do it on my own (thank God for grace). But what a glorious goal to strive for.

Does any part of the love passage personally speak to you? Are you able to reflect this love better to some people than others? Are there any generic passages that you've read with renewed eyes lately?


  1. Very good post! I especially like your concluding paragraph. Yesterday the priest gave us the same exercise of inserting our name in place of love. For me it ultimately comes down to the fact that God is Love, so how much do I resemble God?

    Also, I really like that picture! You two look genuinely happy.

  2. Patience, patience, patience. That is my biggest problem. This is a very good exercise. I might print the passage out, with my name in it, to stick on my bathroom mirror or someplace where I'll see it often.

    I just recently found your blog (and I already forgot where). I look forward to getting to know you. Welcome to the Catholic Church.

  3. I love this exercise; I hadn't heard it before. I am going to have to print that out! Also, I think we wore the same veil! :)

  4. Not going to lie, I kind of feel like a failure on all of those...

  5. I LOVE this post! And I love that picture of you two!

  6. What a great post! I love this idea. I am horribly impatient (especially with my children)...I am horribly prideful...

    But this passage is one of my favorites for the very reason that it reminds me that LOVE is all those things. And that I must strive to LOVE others in this way, but understand that only God is perfect and only God is capable of loving this perfectly at all times and thank God that He loves me in all my imperfection and forgives all my sins.

    Thank you for this.

  7. I've heard of this before, and WOW does it make an impact. I think of it alot, and it never fails to bring me back down to the basics, especially in my marriage. Since the scripture is usually used in a married love context, I can easily get stuck in that mindset. (Which isn't a particularly bad place to be :)) But what really gets me is when I think of myself behaving that way with EVERY person I encounter. True, agape love. Hard, but worthwhile.

    (Also, hubby and I have a red-barn wedding picture too!)

  8. we did this in my rcia class! only john didn't tell us why he was making us use our names. then he asked us if it was a little uncomfortable. then he made us replace love with "God" and he was "like, there, doesn't that sound a lot better?" Thanks for the reminder!

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