On Love

28 Feb

You’re probably thinking that I think I’ve got it all right since I’m writing on the topic of love and the misunderstanding of love.  Welp, let me be the first to tell you that I’m a far cry from being an expert on that topic.  My purpose in writing on the topic of love is threefold: 1) To delve into the real definition of love 2) to discuss the abuse of the word love, and 3) to ask why this word “love” is constantly misused in many conversations and discussions.

When you hear the word “love”, do you automatically think of the self-sacrificing-for-the-good-of-the-other sort of love?

If you answered “no” that’s okay.

If you answered “yes”, I’m very impressed 🙂

Before I talk about what love is, I would like to talk about what love it not.

The not-definition of Love.  Love is not solely any of the following (THESE following statements vary situation to situation, but I’m just throwing it all out there cause I’m tired of the watered-down, easy-peasy, touchy-feely, lovey-cheesy talk of love):

First, love is not the avoidance of fraternal correction in matters of faith and morals simply because we do not want to make him/her upset.  (You know what I’m talking about.)  When we truly love someone, we want the best for them.  Avoiding correction to him or her is a cop-out.  (It may not be good timing to talk about co-habitation or over-spending during a dinner party.  Use tact, but make sure that you find the time to talk with this person.)

Second, love is not the enouraging, promoting or condoning of sinful actions or behavior simply because “you love the person” or because “they are going through a rough time” and you don’t want to add to their stress.  Well honey, they’re going to be going through a heck of a lot “rougher time” if they continue down the path they are on.  Just sayin’.  Like I said before, use tact, and find the time to talk with this person.  Let them know you still love them and most certainly want the best for them.

Thirdly, love is not just the touchy-feely, kissy, make-me-feel-good stuff.  HOLD YOUR HORSES 🙂  Yep, that’s part of love, but not the extent.

Here is what love actually is:

The simple definition of love is to serve God.  The more complex definition of love is loving God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1822.)

There are some saints who, when asked what love is all about, would actually simply point towards the crucifix.  (Oh my goodness, I want to be like them!)

One of my favorite quotes about love is attributed to St. Augustine “Love and do what you will.”  One of the first times I read this quote, it left me scratching me head thinking “Huh?!”  and then I found myself laughing because it is so simple, yet incredibly profound.  If we love authentically, then everything else will fall into place and we will make good judgement calls and will act properly since we love authentically.  The practice of authentic love is quite simple in theory, and quite difficult in practice.  We must remember and be encouraged by the knowledge that love enables and does not restrain, as long as we are looking at love in the proper context.  Love enables us to do the hard stuff.  Love is what enables a father to hold a job, even when he may not enjoy the job, for the sake of supporting his family.  Love is what enables a mother to go through labor to give birth to her child.  We can see love in action when a father teaches his child how to work, how to tie his/her shoes, or when he corrects the child for wrongdoing.  The father has the well-being and the prosperity of the child in mind.  We can see love in action when a mother rocks her crying baby to sleep and when she teaches the son or daughter how to fold laundry or sweep the floor.  She too has the prosperity and the well-being of the child in mind.  These are loving actions.  Love is what enables all of us to live according to the Law of God and to avoid living according to the “Law of Me.”

Love is sacrificial, love is 100%, love is doing everything (within the realm of virtuous living) for the love of God.  (Note: it is not loving to go on a shopping spree and empty my bank account on frivolous, selfish spending just because I love God.  That would be unreasonable and I think that analogy is a no-brainer. 🙂  Love is reasonable.      


Now I’m going to take a moment to make some sweeping generalizations and rant for a moment about the talk of “love.”  By making these statements, I do not intend or desire to make judgement calls or to name call.  These generalizations are for the sake of providing food for thought, and to share with you my thoughts on the “love” and the abuse of this word.

The word “love” makes me roll my eyes when the context the word is used in a sentence that should not bear that term.  For example, there is a bumper sticker that says, “legal love” in support of gay/lesbian people.   MMMmmm K.  A few things.   This is where some get hung up.  Legal does not equal moral.  I am not saying that a man cannot love the friendship of another man, or that a woman cannot love the friendship of another woman.  What I am saying is that  any action that violates the virtues of purity and chastity are wrong (and thereby violating love) – and this is for ANY form of relationship.  Period.  Even married couples are called to live in purity and chastity according to their vocation.  If you want more information on this particular topic, visit this website.

Now, I’d like to get some feedback on the following question.  Why in the world does the media and various government/legistlative/state officials/individuals talk of the word love in an abusive way?  For example, some would argue that it is loving to provide services or goods that are harmful to a person.  Services or goods that are harmful to a person include, and are not limited to:  1) condoms, 2) abortifacients, 3) sterilizations, etc. etc.  You get the point.  The aforementioned “goods” and “services” are NOT HELPFUL TO THE PERSON.  To my point, refer back to the beginning where I mentioned what love is not.

Earlier I mentioned that I am not an expert on this topic.  These are facts that I hold and believe to be TRUE regardless of circumstance, language, race, color, ethnicity, favorite pizza topping or vacation spot.  These points I have made are not exhaustive (clearly.)  If you have comments or concerns regarding any of the points I made, I would like to hear from you.  Even if you do not have comments or concerns, I would enjoy hearing from you.  Did anything in this article speak out to you?

Lastly, I would like to share with you one an inspirational quote by Mother Teresa (who by the way is one of the most amazingly fabulous people that has lived.)

Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house…let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”  – Mother Teresa

PS.  For an excellent source on love and what it’s all about go here.


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