Sunday, November 13, 2016

Physical and Spiritual Love

Recently we had an academic seminar on the word love in which four participants expressed their understanding on the topic:  "Life and love--Recovering their true real relationship." The topic was  approached from a medical, human, scriptural and church point of view. Each participant speaking from their own specialty. Both Catholic papers reported on the seminar.

First, presenter quoted psychologist Robert Sternberg as defining love as passion, intimacy, and commitment. Depending on the degree of love,  different types can be differentiated. When all are equivalent we have the highest form of love.

When one uses the word love each has their own meaning.To nurture a happy relationship in love each needs to have an understanding of its meaning and expectations and what one needs to do to meet the expectations.

Another two authorities were quoted with their division of love into six types: love between friends, spiritual, romantic, possessive, altruistic, and playful love.  Several of these come into each relationship and depending on whom one is relating the type  changes.

In developmental psychology, love is not something that naturally develops but  grows in relationships, by study, and with maturity. Many think women are romantic and men are realists but is that the reality? According to many sociologists, it is just the opposite. Women are more logical, more possessive, want a  love between friends, while the male wants a playful, romantic, relationship. In altruistic love, there is little difference between the sexes.

Another participant speaking about human love says it's the preface to life, freedom, chastity, gazing out together, starting a journey of completeness together. Love is what makes a person live like a human being. From ancient times in all traditions, love was the beginning of life.

Freedom in love allows one to know another and change the other. When in love all is beautiful, all is lovable. One is not confined but allows one to love all, otherwise, it is not true love and will imprison one with shackles.

Purity is a dimension of the body while chastity of the soul: charity is the  internal completion of the external purity. Life of purity is becoming one with the person who is loved. Chastity is another step where two in their sexual relationship become one in their individuality giving life to others.

A religious sister talked about love in the Scriptures. In these times talking about love is a challenge to the hearers. Especially when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, does this make sense to those who hear it? Jesus taught this concretely by his life.

A Priest concludes with love within the Church. Love is the central message: love of God and others. God is Love. We are made in the image of God and made to love. The word love (agape) comes from the words used by the writers of the New Testament: the love that Jesus showed us. The Church gives support to the passionate love of man and woman but  sees it only within marriage.