But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Virtues are funny things. On the one hand, they’re gifts to help us through life. On the other hand, they’re not quite what we expect.
Faith gives us the ability to believe what we cannot prove. However, it’s easy to have faith when things are going well. It’s so easy that when things are going well, we ascribe the success to us, so who needs faith? When things go badly, it’s just as easy to look to God accusingly and ask Him why He didn’t give us more faith.
Hope is like faith in that it lets us see things as they could be. Again, it’s easier to have hope when things are going well. Less so when the economy is bad or there are medical problems or we wake up in the middle of the night due to worry.
Finally, there’s love. It’s easy to love those who look like us, sound like us and share our values. It’s damned difficult to love those who are different, especially if we don’t understand them. How can God expect me to love those kids with their pants hanging down? Or the girl wearing the hijab? Or the star of David, or the cross?
But think about it. The virtues are there for exactly those reasons. Especially, love, the greatest of them.
We’re called upon to love those most different from ourselves; most difficult to understand.
Like the way that Jesus loved the Roman soldiers even as they drove the nails through His hands and His feet.