see word “love” written all over the place. We see it in the
newspapers. We see it in the popular weekly magazines. We see it in the
cinemas. We use it ourselves – often times without really understanding
what the word means.
is this thing called “love” anyway? It’s a very small word. And yet
there is probably no other word in the English language so much abused
young boy tells his teacher that he loves sweets. The young girl says
she loves her baby-doll. That man says he loves high-heeled shoes while
that lady says she loves looking at the nice things in the shop windows.
One loves the heat of the dry season; another loves the rain of the wet
season. What are they all talking about when they say they love?.
we can say we use the word “love” very lightly and very often, with
little understanding of the tremendous meaning of this little word. And
yet, it is one of the greatest powers and possibilities lying in the
heart of a man or woman: to love, to love with all the power of a human
heart. But to love with all the power of human heart is something we
have to learn little by little.
Steps to real loveLove
is a little ladder; there are steps to it. The first step we can say is
like the love a child has. It is a love of receiving. He is happy
because he is given something.
The second step sees this love begin to unfold itself. The child begins to look out from himself to others. He discovers.
the child is happy because he gives something of his own, he makes
someone happy. The child has learned a most important aspect of real
third step is that in which the person is ready for the double movement
of giving – receiving. All are once he is ready to give in order to
make that other person happy, but he is also ready to receive-which can
be another way of making someone happy. He has discovered one of life’s
greatest and most wonderful secrets, a secret which is at the core of
said: To love is to give. Yes, it is as simple and yet as difficult as
that. To love is to give; love involves giving, often giving what one
needs or wants to hold on to. At its greatest and deepest, it is the
offering, the giving of oneself for the happiness of another.
is at the heart of love. The wish to be always receiving is at the
heart of selfishness and self-love. Love looks out at the one loved and
asks: “How can I give more so that the other will be happier?” self-love
and selfishness on the other hand ask and plan how to get things: “How
should I act so very different from the other.
Examples of genuine loveThere
are many examples of real, genuine love in our everyday life. There is
the love of a father proven by carrying his sick child for many miles
through the bush. The hospital is still fifteen miles away but his love
drives him on, gives him strength and will not let him say: “That is
enough that is all I can do”.
The love of the mother is called upon every day to bring comfort, strength and relief to one or other of her children.
Love needs to growLove
is like life. We have been talking about life and about God who is the
source of all life. Life lives, it grows, it changes. Love is like that.
Love is like life: it must spread. It must stretch itself and find new
areas, new places to cultivate and enrich. Love is always in the making. It is there, yes but always needs to be made new and to grow. If it dies not, it dies.
What love does Love
is a little like the sun, the sun which is so often our friend. It
drives away the cold. It keeps and encourages the corps to ripen. Loved
is often changed. From being hesitant, afraid, disbelieving, lonely, the
loved one becomes a completely different kind of person. Where there
was fear and doubt before there is confidence and daring. The pain and
loneliness have given way to joy and happiness. It is like the snake
that sheds its old skin at a certain time of the year; a new skin takes
its place. Likewise, a new person has been born because of the love
often hear people say: “How can he love her?” or “What does she like in
him?” To ask why we love another person has no meaning. If it is love,
we do not love another because of his/her good qualities nor in spite of
his /her faults; do we love the person underneath all of these.
Love: a mysteryWe
have spoken of love as a “giving of self” but this does not fully
explain what love is because love is a mystery. It is a mystery in the
sense that its meaning is so rich that every day we can learn something
more about it.