Without Love We Have Nothing.

Recently while on a retreat I was able to witness the power and glory of the Holy Spirit in many ways. During a time of praise and worship in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Spirit took over. People were experiencing Him through His many gifts, resting in the Spirit, praying over others, singing spontaneously, and truly experiencing God’s love. It was beautiful to behold.

During this time and the days that followed, I began to reflect on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, noticing particularly ones that I don’t have. I wanted to be able to speak in tongues, prophesy, and do big and bold things for the glory of God. Feeling discouraged, I went to a nearby church that was having Adoration and while sitting before Christ in the Eucharist, I began to read scripture.

First I read:

“For Just as the Body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12

I meditated with this for a while, realizing that  while we are all united to Christ, none of us are the same, and through our individual gifts we can serve God and give Him glory. Not having a particular gift or talent does not make me any less qualified to serve God than someone else. I simply have to give Him whatever I do have, big or small.

I then continued reading and stumbled upon two other verses that caught my attention. They are:

“…but [if I] do not love, I am nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:2

“Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts…” 1 Cor. 14:1

Both of these verses pierced my heart. I am called to love. Before all else, I am called to love. I sat with this for a while before leaving Adoration. The next day I decided to go for a walk around my apartment complex, and ran into an elderly man who was also walking. We ended up walking together and talking about the university football team, college classes, and my major. The conversation never got very deep or beyond common small talk, and it didn’t last particularly long before we had to part ways. But there was something about talking to this man improved my day, and he informed me that his day was improved by talking to me. What made this ordinary conversation so beautiful was that I looked at this man and recognized his dignity as a child of God and loved him. I became aware of God’s presence in our conversation, not by what was said but by the Christ-like love that passed between us.

This encounter made me more aware of what God had been revealing to me during the retreat and Adoration. Yes, I should pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but without love these gifts mean nothing. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, and tongues are nothing without love.

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