The Hymn to Love The passionate “way of love” that Paul invites us to follow is the way followed by Christ himself.
The Hymn to Love “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1Co. 13:1-3)
Without love, every other gift is worthless. Even the most visible gift – speaking in tongues – would degenerate into its opposite and become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Love is so necessary and decisive that without it even the most illustrious activities – including those of an apostle like Paul – would come to nothing.
The Features of Love “Love is patient; love is kind; Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”(1 Co. 13:4-7)
Love is great-hearted – a feature characteristic of the love of Christ, who in the Gospel invites everyone to come to him, and who is always ready to welcome everyone.
Love cannot coexist with any type of envy or jealousy because they are contrary to it. God expresses his love in the free and joyous gift of himself and we must do the same.
With the Heart of Christ Paul is overwhelmed by the love of Christ. The thought that Christ died for sinful humanity awes him, drives him “out of his mind” with ecstasy – an ecstasy founded solely on the love of Christ, revealed in his work of salvation.
Paul is singing about a single, eternal love which has become the life of the believer and is poured out on his/her neighbour under the promptings of the Spirit. Consequently, true love of God can never be separated from love of neighbour.