"Be a continuing example of love, faith, and purity to believers." —1 Timothy 4:12
Paul commanded Timothy to exemplify love, faith, and purity. Love, faith, and purity should all go together. Because of our sins, however, sometimes they don't. Jesus remarked that the woman in today's Gospel had great love, but she seems to be lacking in purity (Lk 7:47). Paul speaks of people who have faith enough to move mountains but do not have love (1 Cor 13:2). Jesus implied that there would be love in the Church, for "they'll know we are Christians by our love" (see Jn 13:35). Yet He questions whether there will be any faith on this earth when He comes again (Lk 18:8). Obviously, faith and love don't always go together. Likewise, love and purity don't always accompany each other. David truly loved God but also fell into sexual impurity (2 Sm 11:4). The Thessalonians had great faith but not such great purity (see 1 Thes 1:8; 4:3).
If we repent and obey the Lord, we will become a continuing example of all three virtues — love, faith, and purity. This triple combination is extremely powerful. For example, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa are recent examples of all three virtues. "Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8). "All depends on faith" (Rm 4:16). We can be pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3). With this triple combination, we will lead the whole world to Jesus.
Prayer: Father, do anything You want to develop the virtues lacking in my life.
Promise: "I tell you, that is why her many sins are forgiven — because of her great love. Little is forgiven the one whose love is small." —Lk 7:47
Praise: St. Januarius received the ultimate crown of glory by suffering a martyr's death.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet The Bible on Sex.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013
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