“Love is patient, love is kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:4-7).
Love is patient – This refers to the quality of one who does not act on impulse and avoids giving offense. Being patient does not mean letting ourselves be constantly mistreated, tolerating physical aggression or allowing other people to use us. Patience takes root when I recognize that other people also have a right to live in this world, just as they are. It does not matter if they hold me back, if they unsettle my plans, or annoy me by the way they act or think, or if they are not everything I want them to be. Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like. 74
Love is kind. The word is used only here in the entire Bible. It means a good person, one who shows his goodness by his deeds. The word indicates that love benefits and helps others… love is ever ready to be of assistance. As Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “Love is shown more by deeds than by words”.
Love is not jealous or envious. Envy is a form of sadness provoked by another’s prosperity; it shows that we are not concerned for the happiness of others but only with our own well-being. True love values the other person’s achievements.
Love is not boastful. This word denotes vainglory, the need to be haughty, pedantic and somewhat pushy. Those who love not only refrain from speaking too much about themselves, but are focused on others; they do not need to be the centre of attention. Literally, it means that we do not become “puffed up” before others. St. Paul uses this word to criticize those who are “inflated” with their own importance (cf. 1 Cor 4:18) but in fact are filled more with empty words than the real “power” of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 4:19). Love, on the other hand, is marked by humility; The inner logic of Christian love is not about importance and power;
Love is not rude. To love is also to be gentle and thoughtful…or impolite; it is not harsh. Its actions, words and gestures are pleasing and not abrasive or rigid. This word denotes courtesy. Courtesy “is a school of sensitivity and disinterestedness” which requires a person “to develop his or her mind and feelings, learning how to listen, to speak and, at certain times, to keep quiet”. Those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation, and encouragement.
Love does not seek its own interest. It refers to a violent reaction within, a hidden irritation that sets us on edge where others are concerned, as if they were troublesome or threatening and thus to be avoided. To nurture such interior hostility helps no one. My advice is never to let the day end without making peace in the family. The Bible makes it clear that generously serving others is far more noble than loving ourselves.
Love is not irritable or resentful. This has to do more with an interior indignation provoked by something from without. Our first reaction when we are annoyed should be one of heartfelt blessing, asking God to bless, free and heal that person. Love forgives. The opposite of resentment is forgiveness, which is rooted in a positive attitude that seeks to understand other people’s weaknesses and to excuse them.
Love does not rejoice at wrong it rejoices in the right. It is a toxic attitude to rejoice at seeing an injustice done to others of by others. Rather, we rejoice at the good of others when we see their dignity and value their abilities and good works and celebrate them. This is impossible for those who must always be comparing and competing, even with their spouse, so that they secretly rejoice in their failures.
Love “bears all things”. This is about more than simply putting up with evil; it has to do with the use of the tongue. The verb can mean “holding one’s peace” about what may be wrong with another person. We often forget that slander can be quite sinful; it is a grave offense against God when it seriously harms another person’s good name and causes damage that is hard to repair. Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weakness and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. The other person is much more than the sum of the little things that annoy me.
Love believes all things. Here “belief ” is not to be taken sense of what we mean by “trust”. Love trusts, it sets free, it does not try to control, possess and dominate everything. At the same time, this freedom makes for sincerity and transparency, for those who know that they are trusted and appreciated can be open and hide nothing. A spouse who is always suspicious, judgmental and lacking unconditional love, will tend to keep secrets, conceal their failings and weaknesses, and pretend to be someone other than who they are. On the other hand, a family marked by loving trust, come what may, helps its members to be themselves and spontaneously to reject deceit, falsehood, and lies.
Love hopes all things. Love does not despair of the future. This phrase speaks of the hope of one who knows that others can change, mature and radiate unexpected beauty and untold potential. It does involve realizing that, though things may not always turn out as we wish, God may well make crooked lines straight and draw some good from the evil we endure in this world. This realization helps us, amid the aggravations of this present life, to see each person from a supernatural perspective, in the light of hope, and await the fullness that he or she will receive in the heavenly kingdom, even if it is not yet visible.
Love endures all things. This means that love bears every trial with a positive attitude. This “endurance” involves not only the ability to tolerate certain aggravations, but something greater: a constant readiness to confront any challenge. It is a love that never gives up, even in the darkest hour. It shows a certain dogged heroism, a power to resist every negative current, an irrepressible commitment to goodness. In family life, we need to cultivate that strength of love which can help us fight every evil threatening it. Love does not yield to resentment, scorn for others or the desire to hurt or to gain some advantage. The Christian ideal, especially in families, is a love that never gives up.