I Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I John 4:7-19
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
We love, because He first loved us.
Prayer of Thanks by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Father in heaven,
We thank thee.
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Alternate Version of St. Francis’ Prayer
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, Grant that we may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
“Sonnet XLIII” By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My beloved responded and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along.
‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’
from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.
from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, Master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
“Wedding Prayer” by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Apache Wedding Blessing
“Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.”
“Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives — remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”
Cherokee Wedding Blessing
“God in heaven above please protect the ones we love. We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together. We honor Mother Earth and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons. We honor fire and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts. We honor wind and ask that we sail through life safe and calm as in our father’s arms. We honor water to clean and soothe our relationship — that it may never thirst for love. With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony as we grow forever young together. Amen.”
“Roads Go Ever Ever On” By J.R.R Tolkien
Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.
“A friend . . .” By Walter Rinder
Strengthens the heart;
Repairs the hurt;
Encourages the discovery;
Enlightens the mind;
Dissolves the pain;
Banishes the loneliness;
Understands the anxieties;
Increases the joy;
Deepens the spirit;
Frees the soul.
“To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?
“A White Rose” by JB O’Reilly
The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips
“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickenson
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.
“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can in no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
“Love Is A Great Thing” by Thomas à Kempis
Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good.
By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.
It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all wordly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.
Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down.
Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.
Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.
Sonnet 116 – William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
admit impediments. Love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds,
or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh, no! It is an ever-fixed mark.
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
it is the star to every wandering bark,
whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
within his bending sickle’s compass come;
love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
From “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” …
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
“Spectrum of Love” by Walter Rinder
“I love you.”
There is a much greater motivation than simply my spoken words.
For me, to love is to commit myself freely and without reservation. I am sincerely interested in your happiness and well being. Whatever your needs are, I will try to fulfill them and will bend in my values depending on the importance of your need. If you are lonely and need me, I will be there. If in that loneliness you need to talk; I will listen. If you need to listen, I will talk. If you need the strength of human touch, I will touch you. If you need to be held, I will hold you. I will lie naked in body with you if that be your need. If you need fulfillment of the flesh I will give that also, but only through my love.
I will try to be constant with you so that you will understand the core of my personality and from that understanding you can gain strength and security that I am acting as me. I may falter with my moods. I may project, at times, a strangeness that is alien to you, which may bewilder or frighten you. There will be times when you question my motives. But because people are never constant and are as changeable as the seasons, I will try to build up within you a faith in my fundamental attitude and show you that my inconsistency is only for the moment and not a lasting part of me. I will show you love now. Each and every day, for each day is a lifetime. Every day we live, we learn more how to love. I will not defer my love nor neglect it, for if I wait until tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. It is like a cloud in the sky, passing by. They always do, you know!
If I give you kindness and understanding, then I will receive your faith. If I give hate and dishonesty, I will receive your distrust. If I give you fear and am afraid, you will become afraid and fear me. I will give to you what I need to receive.
To what degree (amount) I give love is determined by my own capability. My capability is determined by the environment of my past existence and my understanding of love, truth and God. My understanding is determined by my parents, friends, places I have lived and been. All experiences that have fed into my mind from living.
I will give you as much love as I can. If you will show me how to give more, then I will give more. I can only give as much as you need to receive or allow me to give. If you receive all I can give, then my love is endless and fulfilled. If you receive a portion (part) of my love, then I will give others the balance I am capable of giving. I must give all that I have, being what I am
Love is universal. Love is the movement of life. I have loved a boy, a girl, my parents, art, nature. All things in life I find beautiful. No human being or society has the right to condemn any kind of love I feel or my way of expressing it, if I am sincere, sincerity being the honest realization of myself and there is no hurt or pain intentionally involved in my life or any life my life touches.
I want to become a truly loving spirit. Let my word, if I must speak, become a restoration of your soul. But when speech is silent, does a man project the great depth of his sensitivity. When I touch you, or kiss you, or hold you, I am saying a thousand words.
“Love Me” By Walter Rinder
Love me because I try to touch life
within the framework of
love me in the shadows
in decisions as I strive to gain
love me in the silence of my hurts
and the noise of my
love me for the feeling of my heart
not the fears of my mind
love me in my search for truth
though I may stumble upon
love me as I pursue my dreams
sometimes retarded by illusions
love me as I grow to know myself
even during the times of
love me because I seek harmony
not man’s discord
love me for my body that I wish to
share with affection,
wrapping you in warmth
love me because we are different
because we are the same
love me that our time together will
be spent in growing, kindling
the world with understanding
love me not with expectations
but with hope
I will love you the same.
“Love is not a Sound” By Walter Rinder
Love is not a sound
often times spoken in haste
or promises you intend not to keep
or a walk down a one way street
Love is hope where hope was once severed
from your mind
Love is living each moment with the person
or love you find
Love is trust when trust repeatedly stole
from your life
Love is never giving up when you’re
or in strife
Love is seeing all you can
in each and every man
’tis not a sound
that makes love profound
From “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
From “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L’Engle
But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.
To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.
From “Gift From The Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
What is at rest is easy to hold – Lao Tzu
What is at rest is easy to hold.
What manifests no omens is easily forestalled.
What is fragile is easily shattered.
What is small is easily scattered.
Tackle things before they have appeared.
Cultivate peace and order before confusion and disorder have set in.
A tree as big as a man’s embrace springs from a tiny sprout.
A tower nine stories high begins with a heap of earth.
A journey of a thousand leagues starts from where your feet stand.
He who fusses over anything spoils it.
He who grasps anything loses it.
The Sage fusses over nothing and therefore spoils nothing.
He grips at nothing and therefore loses nothing.
In handling affairs, people often spoil them just at the point of success.
With heedfulness in the beginning and patience at the end, nothing will be spoiled.
Therefore the Sage desires to be desireless,
Sets no value on rare goods,
Learns to unlearn his learning,
And induces the masses to return from where they have overpassed.
He only helps all creatures to find their own nature,
But does not venture to lead them by the nose.
Peace in the World – Chinese Proverb
If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” By Edward Lear
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
“Love’s Trinity” By Alfred Austin
Soul, heart, and body, we thus singly name,
Are not in love divisible and distinct,
But each with each inseparably link’d.
One is not honour, and the other shame,
But burn as closely fused as fuel, heat, and flame.
They do not love who give the body and keep
The heart ungiven; nor they who yield the soul,
And guard the body. Love doth give the whole;
Its range being high as heaven, as ocean deep,
Wide as the realms of air or planet’s curving sweep
Sonnet XVII By Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
“Unending Love” By Rabindranath Tagore
I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it’s age old pain,
It’s ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.
You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
“i carry your heart with me” By e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
“When I Love” By Nizar Qabbani
When I love
I feel that I am the king of time
I possess the earth and everything on it
and ride into the sun upon my horse.
When I love
I become liquid light
invisible to the eye
and the poems in my notebooks
become fields of mimosa and poppy.
When I love
the water gushes from my fingers
grass grows on my tongue
when I love
I become time outside all time.
When I love a woman
all the trees
run barefoot toward me…
It is the little things which become the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is always remembering to say “I Love You.”
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is standing together, and facing the world “together”.
It is having the ability to forgive. Not only to forgive, but to forget.
It is giving each other space to grow.
It is never forgetting what it was that brought you two together,
those qualities in each other that caused you to fall in love.
And then, never losing those qualities,
but continuing to build on them each and every day of your lives.