(Google translation from Italian)
HYMN OF THE APOSTLE PAUL TO CHARITY DISCOUNTED BY JOURNALIST
Castelvenere - Saturday, February 7, 2009
1 Corinthians 13: 1-13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind; is not envious, does not boast, is not puffed up, 5 is not disrespectful, not seek its own interests, not angry, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not enjoy dell`ingiustizia, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. The prophecies will disappear; the gift of tongues will cease and science will vanish. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy. 10 But when that which is perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 Quand`ero child, I spake as a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. He became a man, that was a child `I abandoned. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, as am I. I am known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and charity; but the greatest of these is love
We will not make an exegesis: is not my business. We will do a reading by ordinary Christians. Here we have the bishop and the parish priest, who could tell us more. As Christians we have a common reading from the point of view of today's man, in his language media and in its media culture. We wonder what today would think the apostle Paul saying "charity is patient and kind." Then taught the Corinthian Christians who gouged eyes hotly vying for the leadership of the community, maybe today would be affected by the challenge between Christians who revile with equal animation invective in the Crusades: "You right, left you ...". It would be affected by this and much more. Let's ask ourselves to what, following the anthem word for word. For simple people who we are the hymn to charity is a central text of the New Testament, such as Plato's Symposium, with its praise of Eros, it is a central text of humanism greek. And as the encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict is a central text for Christianity today. And as the words of Therese of Lisieux, "In the heart of the Church my mother I want to be love" I am a gift of capital for each of us. Blessed Teresa and together they tell the actuality of the hymn of Paul.
The anthem, as they say in school, it can be divided into three parts. It 'called "hymn" because it has the inspiration of a song, a poem. And 'one of the texts in which Paul is a poet.
We will call the first part: the primacy of charity, verses 1-3.
The second will call it: nature and works of charity, verses 4-7.
The third: the love lasts forever, or the eternity of love, verses 8-13.
We are probably in 53 AD when Paul wrote the First Letter to the Corinthians: that is just twenty or fifteen years after the first Christians have had the experience of the death and resurrection of Christ. Before the writing of the Gospels. This letter is the narrative of the Last Supper, the first that has come to us (chapter 11).
Incredible timing of Paul. The Pauline year causes us to reflect on the position of Prince Paul in the New Testament.
In this letter Paul speaks to a Christian community with strong internal divisions, similar to today's Church; inserted in a libertarian society, who loved to flaunt the attraction of bodies, just like ours. Among the Christians of Corinth there is "one who lives with his father's wife" (5: 1). And 'in this letter that Paul says, "It is I who have begotten you in Christ Jesus through the Gospel" (4, 15). And 'here that we read the comforting words for every Christian couple: "The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her husband" (7, 14). Here again we read: "I have become all things to all, to save at least some" (9, 22). And 'here the motto "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is empty" (15, 14). In the vast world of this letter it is like a culmination, which is our hymn to charity. It rises from the heart of Paul in response to the controversy of the quarrelsome community, torn by dissension between the bearers of gifts of more attractive: the gift of tongues, the healings, the miracles, that of knowledge, that of prophecy. Faced with this contention Paul says, "you want the higher gifts" and immediately adds that the greatest is love, "the most sublime way" (12, 31).
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
What is this "charity" of which he speaks, he is having said "I will show you the most sublime way"? It 'a gift, it is a way, but it is also much more: it is love, it is God. The God of Jesus Christ that another "letter" of the New Testament, the First of John, describes as "love" "God is love: Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God abides in him" (4, 16).
We must therefore say "charity", or should we say "love"? The word of the original Greek texts is the same: "agape". We will use both these words Italian, but we say that to feel the full force of this hymn, the transport by which it bursts forth from the heart of Paul, it is useful to try to read by putting the word "love" where the translation of the CEI provides "charity ". Because in our culture "charity" and "love" I am not the same thing.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels": that is, every language, even those unknown to humans. I can think of Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, which is talked wizards and orcs, dwarves and hobbits, elves and kent, wild men and trolls and the beautiful expression: "All the races with the word". Here, then, in the language of today, "the tongues of men and of angels."
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Charity is better than prophecy, more and more knowledge of the faith, even more miracles. Here for sure it must stop. To properly understand.
Faith is not on top of everything? No, says Paul, above there is charity, that love, that is God. And if faith were sensationally large, to operate extraordinary signs, however, would not equal love.
Because faith leads me to God, he joined to the Lord; love God instead is here because it is higher.
And that's why it is better to read "Love" where it says "charity".
But we can use the same word for God (God is love) and to say that the gift comes from God (God gives us his love) and finally say that the gift we are called to hand it to the brothers (love others as God loved them)? We can: this is the wonder Christian!
There is such an attraction, a magnet that destines us, calls us, draws us to God in this way "sublime": he who is love comes to us with His love and teaches us to love. As long as we agree to open his heart to give him room. To obey love. Love obeys the love.
3 And though I bestow all my goods and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
And 'perhaps the most important verse for us, the key for us to allow us to enter this great Christian text. A dedicated key for us men and women of the beginning of the third millennium, which we love very sensitive and susceptible to charity but tend to reduce it to charity. Attention thus: charity Caritas is not! We can not only reduce the aid of the needy.
Here more than ever it becomes clear that not just translate "charity", but you get to translate "love".
Here's how the Pope in the encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" reports this decisive point: "St. Paul, in his hymn to charity (cf. 1 Cor 13), teaches us that it is always more than activity alone: ??'If I bestow all my substances and give my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing '. This hymn must be the Magna Carta of all ecclesial service; it sums up all the reflections that in the course of this Encyclical Letter, I played on love "(34).
Let us ask ourselves - let's ask ourselves - what forbid, what might be missing in a donation of all its substances and even of his life made no "charity". It finds it hard to understand it, and it is natural because you are talking indirectly to God and God is still in its unknowable, despite knowledge "speculum" that there has provided the Christ. Here - as in other passages of the hymn - we feel that Paul speaks in paradoxes, for hyperbole. To tell us something that we can not say exactly.
For an attempt at understanding we hear the pope: "Practical activity will always be insufficient if it does not visibly expresses a love for man, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ. My deep personal sharing in the needs and sufferings of others becomes a sharing of my very self: if my gift is not humiliate the other, I must give to others not only something of mine but myself, I have to be present in my gift "(ibid ).
4 Love is patient, love is kind; is not envious, does not boast, is not puffed up, 5 is not disrespectful, not seek its own interests, not angry, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not enjoy dell`ingiustizia, but rejoices with the truth.
In the second part of the hymn Paul with almost conversational language and narrative - nondefining: God can not be defined - indicates 15 notes or characteristics of love: it's like a waterfall of attributes of increasing intensity, to indicate something beyond imagination - precisely because God is ultimately at the heart of the hymn and not simply a charisma or a virtue. Observes Cardinal Martini (in volume Utopia to the test of a community, Piemme 1998, p. 129) notes that seven are positive and eight negative and also the positive "require suffer more than an act." Perhaps - assumed Martini - Paul wants to tell us that "love does not mean doing something for others, as you usually think, but rather put up with the others as they are" (ibid). "Endure" he says, but I would say accept, welcome: a little like parents do with their children, who do not endure them but welcome them. We will return to this touchstone of altruistic love that is the maternal-paternal.
The model in this list is the figure of Jesus that endures all things - to love - to the cross. And in turn the behavior of Christ refers to the Father "rich in mercy".
Love is patient as the love of parents who wake up to ten times a night for the baby crying;
love is kind; that is benevolent and beneficial according to the teaching of Christ that goes about doing good all those he meets - therefore if a party is withdrawn excommunication;
It is not envious: for example does not tell the Pope from the left "but how many concessions you doing traditionalists" - that is, from right: "are enduring too much abuse of the innovators";
It does not boast: Here's an example of positive: Italians have long operated during the Nazi occupation to save the Jews; I have dealt at length about the matter and I have never found one of the rescuers who had brought him glory of the gesture made;
is not puffed up: swells instead those who judge other Christians with commiseration: "you left" are not pro-life, "you right" not want the welcome of the stranger; and those of the center swells maybe twice, "but that Christians are you left and you right, forget that this and that? We at the center but ... ";
We not lacking in respect: we can say that we do not agree with the father of Eluana no disrespect as it does for example, who calls it "murderess";
He does not insist on its own: it seeks the interest of Christ and of all in Christ, preventing any movement to occupy the first places in the life of the community;
not angry as those who say "exaggerated and now we pay it to him," words that are thrown at those who dare to break from the pack, in every direction;
does not take into account a wrong suffered: the behavior of "mercy" of the Pope to the bishops Lefebvre, two of whom had even accused of heresy;
does not enjoy dell`ingiustizia: when we see a thief who is killed for "excess defense" - that is an injustice here - it can not be complacent;
but rejoices with the truth even when it coincides with our own, because God is truth and who is telling the truth speaks for all (he also touches thorny issues, such as the participation of Catholics in the Tangentopoli or that of pedophile priests) .
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
It bears: the lack of documents illegal immigrants, as it certainly will make the Christian doctors notwithstanding the rule that was introduced with the security package and authorizing them to spying.
Believes all: even the justifications of behaviors apparently unjustifiable, just as parents do with their children, so that their testimony is not valid in court.
It hopes all things: even the awakening of Eluana, for which today you stopped the nutritional sustenance.
It endures all things: in 2 Timothy 2, 10 Paul says "all stand for the sake of the elect" - think of a woman abandoned by her husband who does not slanders him with their children: that bears treason not to send poison to the children he loves.
These four absolutizations or "totality" tell us how demanding Christian love. Here is an account of Pope Benedict who has proposed on November 26, in one of catechesis dedicated Pauline Year, with reference to our hymn: "Christian love is so demanding because it springs from the total love of Christ for us : that love that claims us, welcomes us, embraces us, sustains us, even torments us, because it obliges us to live no longer for ourselves, closed in their own selfishness, but for 'the One who died and rose for us' ( cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15). The love of Christ makes us be in him this new creature (cf. 2 Cor 5:17) who joins his Mystical Body which is the Church. "
To actualize who is father or mother, being a Christian means tend to have with every person we meet the same "good will" that we have to our children.
8 Love never fails. The prophecies will disappear; the gift of tongues will cease and science will vanish. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy. 10 But when that which is perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
Since love is divine, rather it is God himself, it will never end: it can not end and will remain when all other reality is over. That is, he will have reached its end. Ie will be recapitulated in God. So in the end there will be only love. God will be all in all and everything will be in God. That all will love.
Here I would see an argument for the final salvation of every creature. But we leave this to the theologians.
The intention of Paul is to induce the contentious Corinthian Christians to aim high, leaving disputes about what is worth more, the prophecy or languages. He says mind that this fight will end and so there while in your diatribe sacrificed the love that never ends!
We could apply the call of Paul to the great debate that divides Christians today: whether to give priority to social solidarity, peace, welcoming foreigners; or the defense of the family, of life and freedom of education. Paul would say to us all this ends, rather seek the love that "never ends".
Not staying to the left or right makes the difference, but the fact that you are there or not there is in the name of love, that is, to love. Political parties are ways to take care of the construction of the company, all reasonably valid as long pursued in love! And there is evidence to know if you do it with love or not: no moving love if the reference to Christian values ??we carry it to prevail on Christians of other coalitions rather than to convince them of the goodness of those who are not Christians.
11 Quand`ero child, I spake as a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. He became a man, that was a child `I abandoned. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, as am I. I am known.
Here Paul invites us to look to our Christian life as a growth in approaching the Lord, until we will see him "face to face". It also encourages us, not to lose heart in the face of the difficulties we face in politics, professions, education of children, participation in the life of the Church, because in a sense, love can not be defeated, being eternal. It "always wins even though at the time this appears: what has been done with love and for love will never end, although in this world is not recognized" (Carlo Maria Martini, lc, p. 131).
We could apply this insight on love that is never lost, that capitalizes on God, fatigue and also the failures of us parents because we have given to the children in houses and books and money and effort and freedom and severity, it will all end, but We will only love that we passed; and what will remain beyond our failure and beyond their rebellion.
We can apply - this hint of love that is not lost - even for people who like to be without are loved or still love those no longer on earth: their love is not lost.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and charity; but the greatest of these is love
And 'as if Paul by tumultuous and petulant Corinthian Christians felt coming objection that faith and hope are not lost and last. And here's his answer: when we are in God cease even faith and hope, but will always love and therefore it is bigger. Because it comes from God, because He is God. And because God is the beginning and end, alpha and omega.
In conclusion, again we rely on the teaching of the Pope and in particular to the words of the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est that we should memorize: "Love is the light - in the end, the only - that can always illuminate a world grown dim and It gives us the courage to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image and likeness of God. To experience love and in this way to let the light of God in the world, here is what I would expect that with the present encyclical " (n. 39).
Every man is capable of love, even the unbeliever. And love is frequent and the Spirit inspires where he wills. We have the task of accompanying the breath, to welcome us, to awaken the perception among our contemporaries and to entrust with confidence to its pedagogy. "Love grows through love," Benedict says in his encyclical (n. 18) until the final fulfillment in God.
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