Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13.4-7)
Here, the Apostle Paul
with whom I share, of all,
one of the finest names under heaven (or so I believe!),
or the way God, Who is Love, loves –
sans regard for any personal merit
or deserving’s judgment.
I suspect that folk, reading and reflecting on this text, o’er time,
disregarding reason and with more affection for romantic rhyme,
have repeated that time-worn line:
Love is blind;
meaning that love does not the beloved’s faults behold
and, the memories of wrongs done, fast ne’er holds.
Ah, this vision (or version or revision) of love, methinks,
is more the empty bounty of the wishful-thinking
of believing, of betting on life’s purest chance
than trusting in the o’erflowing cup of God’s benevolence.
For the God Who creates all, knows all, sees all,
is the God from Whom, as an olden prayer prays, no secrets are hid.
And only in this divine quality of omnipotent omniscience lies salvation’s seed;
watered by the Spirit of God Who looks beyond our fault to behold our need.
Thus, it seems to me, to love as God loves
is to see everything about the beloved…
(who is anyone,
for all who are created by God are beloved;
as difficult as that may be for any of us
to believe about some of us,
perhaps even to believe about any of us,
that is, about ourselves on our worst days)
…the light and the shadow;
thus, refusing only the day to seek
whilst turning away from (giving blind eye to) the darkness
(for there are days, many days, despite our grandest, most fervent hopes,
when there is little light to see).
For to love as God loves is to see as God sees
through all of our (everyone’s) faults to our (everyone’s) deepest need;
and there, through words of mercy and deeds
of grace, we are to sow compassion’s reconciling seed.
And, lest we fear our failure
or, in our judgments of others, refuse this saintly labor,
God hath called no one to be successful,
for if fruit, any fruit is to be brought
it is God from Whom it is wrought.
Two prominent centuries-old references to the blindness of love are found in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale (c. 1405), “For loue is blynd alday and may nat see” and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (1596), “…love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit.”
The “olden prayer” to which I refer is the Collect for Purity (c. 11th century), which reads: Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen (The Book of Common Prayers, page 355, my emphasis)
The “God Who looks beyond our fault to see our need” is a reference to the lyrics of the now-classic Dottie Rambo song, He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need.