By Annie Karto
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.. ~1 Corinthians 13:8
While home visiting family in Indiana this past fall, my husband and I had many wonderful gatherings with family. About midway through our visit, I received a call from my middle son, telling me someone needed to pick up my 31-year-old grandson at a detox center. My grandson had struggled with severe addictions since his last year in high school. He had been ranked in the top ten in wrestling in the state of Indiana. The dream of obtaining a scholarship had faded for him. For the last six years, he’s battled a severe addiction to heroin.
My husband’s first response to picking him up was “no.” He had tried many times in the past to help my grandson and was hurt by his actions. I was upset at his response, but instead of becoming angry, I took all of this to prayer, whispering to God, “Thy will be done.” On the way to clearing some property and burning wood, to my surprise, my husband changed his mind.
We arrived at the detox center, and out my grandson came. My husband scolded him, but all my grandson could say with tears filling his eyes, “I am dying. I’ve tried everything to stop and have failed.” As we drove away, the first thought that came to me was, “Love never fails.”
I remembered trying the previous year to urge him to enter Community Cenacolo in St. Augustine, Florida. At that time, he was unwilling to join the Community. Community Cenacolo was founded by an Italian nun, Sister Elvira, who describes it as a “school of life.” Young people or those who struggle often come to the Community in many different ways, but all are united by their shared burden of suffering. This common cross connects them, and it is not just drug addiction, but more so the inability to love and live one’s life.
As we continued to clear and burn wood on the property, I could see the bond of love and trust begin to build between my husband and grandson. At one point, my grandson turned to both of us to tell us how sorry he was for hurting everyone he loved.
The next few days became difficult due to the withdrawals from heroin. I kept praying for the Lord to help us all. Finally, our grandson agreed to fly with me to St. Augustine and go through a 5—day initiation. This period helps determine if the person entering is willing to give up their cell phone, tv, contact with family for a period of time, and accept the schedule of work and prayer.
On our last night in the hotel, I took him to a barbershop to shave his beard off, which was required. He left his cigarettes on the front seat. We hugged each other, and he said, “I love you, Grandma. Thank you.”
I was thinking of how much he had given up, even saying goodbye to his little toddler for this extended time to find healing. I left with tears of gratefulness in my eyes again, remembering, “Love never fails.”
Lord, help us to remember there is a name for love. God is love. His love is unfailing, no matter what we are experiencing or the challenges we face. Help us to trust in His love. Amen
Call to Action
Recount the situations in your life where God’s love has never failed. Sit for some moments in gratefulness for His unfailing love for you, and for your loved ones.
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