What is Love? (Spiritual discipline part 5)

Throughout my life I’ve explored the concept of Love and found that the concept is always growing and changing before ones eyes the closer one looks.

In the beginning I thought love only to mean romance1 but as I discovered more about the world around me I added the aspect of Eros2 but found that to be lacking in depth and quality. I came to understand the concept of Filio3. This concept of love came also with the realization that love is a decision. I can decide that I am your friend and that may or may not correspond with how I am feeling at the moment. But as I grew older and hopefuly wiser I realized that there was a purer form of Love, True Love!

True Love is Agape4 and knows no bounds. True Love is the answer to all our prayers and all our dreams. When we state that God is Love, we are talking about this Love of Loves. When we explore the aspects of this True Love is when we get to see the very face of God.

My good friend Warren Downey helped me take the first step with his preaching about truth and grace, painting a picture of a God that is 100% truth but also 100% Grace. Where the truth might judge us and condemn us, His grace will forgive us and redeem5 us. This dual concept came a long way to explain the mystery of Love for me, that made room for love to be both soft and hard. And it gave God room to be both a God of judgement and a God of mercy. But the more I meditated on this I found that the dual concept of truth and grace was not big enough to capture God. While it had the sometimes harsh light of truth and the warm embrace of grace it lacked the quality that would urge us on towards heaven. The truth revealed me as a sinner but the grace forgave me and left me as I first was without really giving me a goal or a push forward, something was simply missing.

The answer I found when Christian Schwartz came to Latvia, talking about the three faces of Love, the three aspect of our trinitarian God. He spoke about Truth, Grace and Justice. This gave me a striong and solid plattform from which I could explore the true, endless, encompassing Love of a Holy God.

His truth reveals that I am a sinner and His grace forgives my tresspasses. Finally His justice urges me on to become a better person and to fight for those to whom no Love has been given.

Verum ~ Venia ~ Aequitas

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  1. A very vague concept of fluffy feelings, pink clouds and roses, more a state of infatuation that has nothing to do with love at all []
  2. Eros is the greek word for sexual or physical love. Which in many of it’s forms looks more like lust; I want it, I need it and I must have it []
  3. Filio is the greek word for brotherly love or conditional love, I love you as long as you love me []
  4. Agape is the greek word for Gods Love, the unconditional, endless and limitless Love of a Supreme God. []
  5. redeem is really a fancy word for rescuing us from ourselves and the world. []
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Björn F

As a nice reference for your topic, Benedict XVI has adressed this topic as well, which was interesting reading. Many believed that this hardcore theologian would go head-to-head with abortion or homosexuality or perhaps “impurities” in the church (i.e. churches that aren’t part of the Catholic faith)… and then it comes – his first encyclical letter.

The first statement in theology from the new Pope… and it’s 25 pages that are all about… Love.

It’s steep in theology and a bit of a tough read at times, but it was interesting nonetheless:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html

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