Since the passage came up recently at Mass, and since it mentions the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, which have been prominent in the reading of Dante’s Purgatorio, I thought it would be worth quoting the 13th chapter from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.
(1) If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. (2) And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. (3) If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. (4) Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, (5) it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, (6) it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. (7) It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (8) Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. (9) For we know partially and we prophesy partially, (10) but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. (11) When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. (12) At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. (13) So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Many of you have heard that read at weddings. It’s quite popular. My wife also selected it to be read at our wedding. It’s really one of the most beautiful passages in the entire Bible.