Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Love Never Fails

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"Love suffers long and is kind, love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

These are beautiful words that fills the heart with the hope; that someday we can reach this wonderful love. We all desire to love and be loved, but not every love we hear or see is true love. True love comes from abiding in God, for God is our source of true love, and the more we are spiritually close in our relationship with God the more the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with true love.

True love has no end because it is a spiritual gift. It comes directly from God and cannot be held in or restrained but automatically will be poured out to share with others, with great joy, for it is meant to be shared and enjoyed with everyone who knows its value.

When we die and go up to heaven, God will ask us; did you love Me? And did you love others? Because in the end it doesn't matter how much education, talent, faith, hope we acquired but all what really matters; how much true love we had in our hearts for God and others.

As Christians, true love should be our symbol. This is why we need to pray and ask God diligently to fill our hearts with love so we can be able to come closer to Him and also examine our attitudes and characters constantly so we can change to fit His image.

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:12-13).

Many times we wonder how we can love our neighbor as ourselves! And God insists that this is the only way to gain His blessing. It is very hard to find true love and true friendship in this world because the world is full of resentment, envy, and jealousy.

True friends are like the sunshine of the day, for it will give you courage, hope, and smiles. When you have a great storm, He will stand by you, comfort you, give you words of wisdom, and He will never let go of your hand.

The story of Jonathan and David in the book of 1 Samuel was a great example of teaching us about how the true love and lasting friendship should look like. Jonathan and David had many things in common, for example:

  • Both were princes of Israel
  • Both were in line to assume the throne of Israel
  • Both were relying and trusting in God
  • Both were honest, loyal, humble to one another
  • Both were gifted with great strength

And despite all the trials that they went through together they never lost the sight of what real friendship means:

  • They laughed together
  • Sharing their hopes and dreams
  • Sharing their memories
  • Sharing their emotion to one another
  • Willing to lay down their life for each other

Therefore; a true friend is the one who is much closer to us than a brother/sister. This is like the love that God desires from all of us; similar to the love He and His son showed us. God expects the same closeness and personal relationship with each other and Him.

"Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You! Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long" (Psalm 86:1-3).

St. Monica was another beautiful example of true love and endurance. She was a Catholic Christian who was full of true love for God, her husband, a pagan, and her son, Augustine. St. Monica prayed many prayers and shed many tears on behalf of her husband and son. She was a devoted wife and was full of grace that is why God answered her prayer. St. Monica's husband converted to Christianity and was baptized a year before his death. As for her son, Augustine, he had a brilliant mind, was very successful academically. Augustine went astray for a while away from God's direction but St. Monica kept on praying for him and begging him to come back and be faithful to God. God heard her cry for her son and soon enough, her wish was granted. When he was thirty-two years of age he became a converted Christian. St. Augustine became steadfast in his belief and in ten years he became a Bishop of Hippo. He began to write many books, sermons, letters about grace, the holy trinity, sacraments, etc.

"The voice of the beloved! Behold he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; he is looking through the windows, calling the lattice. My beloved spoke and said to me: 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.'" (Song of Solomon 2:8-10).

Our Father longs for us and for our true love for Him and each other. In the Song of Solomon, He is telling us that. He is calling on us every single day to open our eyes, see the love He has for us, and see His longing to share all what He Has with us, because He is full of love and compassion toward us.

Therefore, let us run to His arms while they are still open and recognize that whatever we will do of our free will and whatever we will achieve will amount to nothing without abiding in Him. So strive to love one another and gain His love and His blessing in our life.

Pure Heart

The heart that I see is more beautiful than mine
It reminds me of my past when my heart used to shine
Now I can see bruises in this heart of mine
From leaving loved ones behind
From sharing my love with others
From digging so deep to get rid of hatreds, envy, and anger
From trying to fill my heart with many good things
So the heart that I see may be more beautiful than mine
My heart is much purer than shine.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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