The Parts of the Whole

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophesy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, love is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interest,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 12: 31—13:13

This, is my religion. This, is what I believe and why I believe what I believe. This, is what I have chosen: love, above all else. As a Catholic, I belive that love = God and that God = love. They are one and the same, indistinct and inseparable from each other.

However, actions do speak louder than words. We shouldn’t simply preach love; we should act it, to. The Catholic Church, for all of the good that it has done and continues to do in the world, has also done it’s fair share of evil. Then again, so has every other institution run by humans, who are imperfect and, therefore, prone to abusing and misusing power.

Does this justify our sometimes atrocious actions? Absolutely not. But it should at least force us to pause and reflect a little bit more, before we run off to condemn things as a whole and create generalizations, as well as spread rumors, in the process.

Catholicism is not guilty of any crime. It is humans who call themselves Catholics–erroneously, in my opinion— that commit crimes due to their imperfect state.

Therefore, let us be careful not to condemn the whole, or at least, let us try not to do so until we’ve made a sincere effort to heal the parts.

Not everything is “terribly wrong with the world or with society.” Look closer. Dig deeper. Plant your own seeds of love and watch how beautifully they flourish and start to grow around you. You, the individual. You, the part. You, can affect the whole and make it better.

Photo by: Belén Alemán / Bay End Farm, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA