Now, that Saint Valentines celebrations are happening. It is important to re-visit the concept of Love, since it could possible be of the most misused words in today’s culture.
As our beloved and bright Pope Benedict XVI explains in his first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”, there are three different levels or degrees of love:
- Eros. Which can be understood as the romantic love or intimate love
- Philia. Which can be related to love between family members or friends
- Agape. Which can be conceived as selfless love or charity.
Nowadays the first two are the most common way of understanding Love. Mainly, I would argue, because on these two kinds of love the giver (lover) obtains something (love) back from the receiver (loved). How easy is then to love when one knows that there is a reciprocation process? How difficult is to love those who love you? Not very…
The third level of Love, Agape, is much more challenging since it implies to love for the sake of loving the other, regardless of benefits that could be obtained. It implies to Love without considerations of any kind…Now, this is what real Love is.
I am not trying to imply that first two kinds of Love are wrong and not worth it; what I am saying is that if one wants to truly experience complete Love, then selfless Love is the way to go.
However, the consequence of this is, that no matter what level of Love you are engaged in, the three of them require an act of will. You cannot love something or somebody if do not choose so…The feeling of love is a consequence of acting upon your will. Now, it follows then that the higher the degree of Love one experience the higher the act of the will is needed….What?
Well, if you choose to Love and as of consequence of this decision you are rewarded in similar fashion; your rational decision will be inclined to engage in this behaviour. However, as I explained, the final level of Love (Agape) implies to Love without expecting anything in return…See, your rational will now have a much harder decision to make…
So, in summary, to Love is act of the will and the more difficult this decision is, the more Love you will be given and experiencing…or in other words:
“If you Love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them” Luke 6,32