Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1Co 13:4-7 NIV)
The apostle qualifies love as essential to all true gifts and good practices of people and states, stating categorically that without it there remains but a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. With it however all gifts and doings appear lovely and even honorable and dear. Love is the mother of all virtues, which can be summarized under the headings of humility and sacrifice for the brethren. Verses 4-7 elaborate this virtuous love that humbly is at peace with itself and sacrificially offers itself for others.
Living for the other, working for his/her benefit and good, finding joy in his/her joy and happiness, striving for his/her eternal salvation, desiring no own delight, but that of the delighted other, aiming at no glory for oneself, but rejoicing that all glory belong to others and being entirely content and satisfied in Christ’s gracious gift of salvation and being in blessed fellowship with him and at peace in godly union: That is the nature of love and thus shines its most beautiful splendor.
Jesus, give me love for my siblings and others, which is not just talk, but is practiced every day and goes from the bottom of my heart.
Love is the sign designating Jesus’ true disciples; where it reigns, it unites separated hearts.
Love covers a multitude of sins and always serves to correct being never too harsh or strict, but rather lenient and kind.
Love tolerates all even if it means enduring harm and injustice, it forgives debt and injury as it is focused solely on Christ Jesus.
Love does not tire even if strained to the limit, seeks and grants peace, serves with word and wisdom.
Love will never stop, but will reach into eternity. There no enemy will disrupt it anymore, there it will be perfection fulfilled.
Therefore, Jesus, grant me love inspired and infused by your Spirit. Love practised daily and from the very bottom of my heart. (Author unknown and the translation is rather literal than poetic)
Translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the Sunday Estomihi (Last Sunday before Lent) as found on Pg. 111 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.