This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:
Scripture: “Love will last forever, even though prophesies will come to an end, tongues will cease and knowledge will come to an end.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)
"The coming New Year usually leads to the thought about the short-term nature of everything earthly. But it seems to me that this time of year should remind us of what never comes to an end. When year after year passes into eternity I do not mourn the things that it takes with it, but rather am amazed at what it leaves with us. Apparently, St. Paul had the same impression. For him it is obvious that “prophesies will come to an end, tongues will cease and knowledge will come to an end”, but he is amazed that “love will last forever” – one hears a triumphant note in this pronouncement. And in completing the past year, we should try to remember what we have been enriched with this year, not temporarily, but forever. What can one say about love, which never grows old, which knows neither time nor space, which in its essence is infinite, limitless? I would say that the thought of it should be paramount within us at the beginning of the new year. There is something in the world over which time has no power: the human heart. Everything else dwindles and wears out; our capabilities weaken, our strength betrays us, our memory weakens, but the heart remains unchanged – it is not fated to lose the ability to love, it should always remain open wide for everything elevated and wonderful, for every need, for every sorrow; the human heart is the plant which does not perish from storms or inclement weather, but remains green and flowers even during freezing snow-filled days.
"The song of love sounds within our heart when our voice betrays us; when our eyesight darkens, the bright rays of faith pierce this darkness and illuminates it. Don’t look at the fading leaves, your heart has remained young despite the years that have passed.
“The eternal love of God which sent the rainbow after the flood has not changed to this day, the gaze of Divine love has not dimmed, the strength of that love has not abated. The heavens and the earth shall pass away, but love will last forever.”
The love of which the author of the above speaks is called “charity” by Lewis. This is from Lewis’s letter to a Mrs. Johnson, of Feb. 18, 1954:
"Of course taking in the poor illegitimate child is ‘charity’. Charity means ‘love’. It is called Agape in the N.T. to distinguish it from Eros (sexual love), Storge (family affection), and Philia (friendship)… Agape is the best because it is the kind God has for us and is good in all circumstances. (There are people I mustn’t feel Eros towards, and people I can’t feel Storge or Philia for: but I can practice Agape to God, Angels, Man and Beast, to the good and bad, the old and the young, the far and the near.)
“You see Agape is all giving, not getting. Read what St. Paul says about it in First Corinthians Chap 13 [see my signature quote below – DZ]. Then look at a picture of Charity (or Agape) in action in St. Luke, chap 10 vv. 30-35 [parable of the Good Samaritan]. And then, better still, look at Matthew chap 25 vv. 31-46 [parable of the Sheep and Goats]: from which you see that Christ counts all that you do for this baby exactly as if you had done it for Him when He was a baby in the manger of Bethlehem: you are in a sense sharing in the things His mother did for Him. Giving money is only one way of showing charity: to give time and toil is far better and (for most of us) harder.”
I guess the way we can show love changes as we grow older – there become fewer things we can physically do to show it, but as long as we are mentally capable, we can keep at least show our love emotionally, by words, to those around us.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)