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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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St. Januarius

1 Corinthians 12:31—13:13
Psalm 33:2-5, 12, 22
Luke 7:31-35

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loved and gifted

"Set your hearts on the greater gifts. Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others." —1 Corinthians 12:31—13:1

Love and the gifts of the Spirit (charisms) go together. If we have charisms, such as tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, ministry, or martyrdom, but do not have love, we gain nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3). Gifts without love are dead (cf Jas 2:26).

However, this does not mean that we should forget about the gifts of the Spirit and concentrate on love. Immediately after Paul proclaimed, "There are in the end three things that last; faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor 13:13), he taught on the proper use of tongues and prophecy. He thanked God that he spoke in tongues more than any Corinthian (1 Cor 14:18), and commanded us to set our hearts especially on the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1). Therefore, Paul taught not only that gifts without love were dead, but that love without gifts leaves something to be desired. Love is one way of describing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Fruit is the end product. Without the full workings of the Holy Spirit, including the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we will not have fully developed fruit.

Love is the atmosphere essential for the proper use of the spiritual gifts, while use of the gifts is a prerequisite for the full development of love. Seek the gifts of the Spirit in love and for love.

Prayer:  Father, may I seek both the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit.

Promise:  "God's wisdom is vindicated by all who accept it." —Lk 7:35

Praise:  St. Januarius, while serving as a bishop, visited his friend Sosius in prison to give encouragement and so became a martyr too. "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:13).

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012

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