Reflection of the Week - 12 October 2021

Posted in Faith

Paul uses several different words for love, but for the Great Love we fall into, the Great Self with the big S, the God Self, he uses the word ‘agape.’ We translate it as unconditional love or divine love. It’s a love we receive as a gift. We do not manufacture it by will-power. It’s a love we can only participate in. It’s a life bigger than our own.

Paul does not speak of doing the deeds of the Spirit, but instead he speaks of the fruits of the Spirit, and love as the greatest gift of the Spirit. Love is something we abide in, something we fall into—usually when we’re out of control, when we’re failing and faltering and we can’t do it right. When we reach the end of our resources—and we have to start relying on a power greater than ourselves—that’s when we fall into the Great Love that is God. Alcoholics Anonymous discovered this many years ago.

For Paul, love is the realm for perfect seeing. When we’re in love, in agape, we are able to ‘see’ correctly. When we’re reading reality correctly, we will love, we will know how to love, and we will be in love. We will not have a judgmental, negative, or critical stance. We’ll see what’s really happening. From some place we do not completely understand comes this capacity to forgive, to embrace, to compassionately understand, to let go, and to hand over my small self to the Big Self that we call God, or our Higher Power.

Paul writes, ‘Now we see through a mirror darkly, but one day we shall all see face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect, but one day I shall know as fully as I am known’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). Paul’s conviction is that he is fully known. He’s been fully seen all the way through, warts and all, and everything has been forgiven, everything has been accepted. The realisation is if I could be fully known and loved and seen for what I am, then all I can do is return the compliment to the rest of reality and know back the way I have been known.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, ‘Paul’s Corporate Understanding of Everything,’ in ‘Great Themes of Paul:
Life as Participation,’ disc 7 (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2002) CD.

Source: Stillpoint Newsletter 7th October 2021.

More from Faith

Subscribe to receive Faith articles by email >


Reflection of the Week - 17th May 2022

Contemplation is the practice of being fully present—in heart, mind, and body—to what is in a way that allows you to creatively respond and work toward what could be.


Comments (3)