The Greatest of These
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Bible, Corinthians 13:13
Faith, hope and love have long been viewed as the spiritual virtues that outweigh all others, outlast all others, and so should be those to which we most aspire. While there has not always been agreement on which is the greatest of these three, the prevalent view is that it is love.
One reason for this is that faith and hope can be said to apply only in the lower worlds, unlike love, which is the very essence of the highest plane of existence. Once that highest level – our true home – is reached, faith no longer applies, as we have instead certain knowledge of God’s love; similarly, hope is at that point no longer required, as it has already been fulfilled. Only love remains.
But while we remain on this earth, faith and hope are still invaluable to those following a spiritual path. Faith, that the Master is there for us and that God’s plan is being carried out even though we may not understand it, can carry us cheerfully through our troubles. Hope, that at death the Master will be there for us to take us to the Father, enables us to maintain a positive approach to life.
So while it is most of all love – and its cultivation through meditation – that is at the core of our spiritual progress, faith and hope can help us to be happy in our journey through life, and keep us strong on the path.
The development of all three virtues can strongly benefit all those in search of spiritual enlightenment. For this reason, all the articles in this issue of Spiritual Link address in one way or another one of these three themes of faith, hope and love.