Friday, February 25, 2011

A Brief Reflection on Love (Plagiarized From Benedict XVI)

I think there is a great deal of insight in this quotation from Benedict XVI's God is Love (7:2), in which he talks about the distinction between, and at the same time the integration of, eros (or "need love") and agape (or "gift love"). Our need for love, when fulfilled, becomes the source of our greater capacity to give ourselves in love. Human persons are made for relationship; indeed to be a person in action is to be in a relationship of love that involves both giving and receiving. Ultimately we are able to love God because He first loves us: He creates us and sustains us in being, and He enters into intimate relationship with us through His gift of grace in Jesus. God loves us, and so makes it possible for us to love Him, and to love one another. Here are the words of Pope Benedict:

Eros and agape—ascending love and descending love—can never be completely separated. The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized. Even if eros is at first mainly covetous and ascending, a fascination for the great promise of happiness, in drawing near to the other, it is less and less concerned with itself, increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants to “be there for” the other. The element of agape thus enters into this love, for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own nature. On the other hand, man cannot live by oblative, descending love alone. He cannot always give, he must also receive. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift. Certainly, as the Lord tells us, one can become a source from which rivers of living water flow (cf. Jn 7:37-38). Yet to become such a source, one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God (cf. Jn 19:34).