At the beginning of the second reading this Sunday, Paul begins in this way: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you. Then later he continues with the following prayer.
That your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.
Paul’s prayer is that we, as Christians, may allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with an ever-increasing love that knows no bounds. In a world that is too often overwhelmed by bitterness, resentment, and unbridled nastiness of every kind, this may seem like an impossible dream. How will love grow in our hearts and minds when we are constantly bombarded by spite and condemnation? How can we let love grow in our hearts when we are constantly being conditioned to find fault in our neighbor’s actions, rather than to extend forgiveness and understanding?
The answer is to discern through prayer what is of value from a heart that is filled with love instead of animosity. Although this may be hard to accomplish in practice, it is worth the effort. We must allow the Holy Spirit to show us how God views the world and the people he has placed in our lives. When we see things and other people as God sees them we will find the peace every soul longs for.