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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Plato, Aristotle, the church, and me

My friend Henry and I have been discussing one of my past posts - Evangelii Gaudium and marriage - and I thought I'd move the discussion here. In that post, I wrote of Pope Francis' statement that marriage is not about feelings of romantic love but instead about duty and obligation. Francis wrote ...

Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”.

This same idea about marriage was asserted by the CDF's Archbishop Müller too. He said ...

[T]he anthropological value of indissoluble marriage: it withdraws the partners from caprice and from the tyranny of feelings and moods. It helps them to survive personal difficulties and to overcome painful experiences. Above all it protects the children, who have most to suffer from marital breakdown .... Love is more than a feeling .....

I disagree with the church's definition oft love/marriage - it bothers me for two reasons ...

1) I think the church has an agenda that is to the church's advantage at the expense of married people .... the church wants them to stay married, even when they aren't in love with each other, even when they are violent with each other (see Müller).

2) And the church's assertion that love as a feeling is "ephemeral" and unable to "survive personal difficulties" shows a depressing lack of faith in human nature. Love, if it's there, can withstand anything and can last forever. And if love isn't there, than no amount of duty will make up for its absence.

I saw an article today about how Plato and Aristotle saw love that night partly explain the difference between how I see love (I'm with Plato) and how the church sees it (they're with Aristotle via Aquinas). Here's a bit of the article ....

Plato on True Love

Whereas Aristotle is not nearly as interested in erotic love (erôs) as he is in friendship (philia), for Plato the best kind of friendship is that which lovers can have for each other. It is a philia that is born out of erôs, and that in turn feeds back into erôs to strengthen and to develop it .....

For Aristotle, happiness involves the exercise of reason because the capacity to reason is the distinctive function of human beings. However, it could be argued that the distinctive function of human beings is not the capacity to reason but the capacity to form meaningful, loving relationships. Plato reconciles these positions by blending desire, friendship, and philosophy into a single total experience that transcends and transforms human existence and that connects it with the timeless and universal truths of the eternal and infinite.


BTW, Wikipedia has a pretty good page on love.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Richard said...

Love seems mysterious to me.it has a character and a mind of it's own. I believe God is part of it,maybe all of it but it's vulnerable too. Marriage was invented by people to protect and preserve and share a special instance of love with the hope that it would remain for a time a source of intimacy, creativity and joy. I believe the church could support that but seems to have coopted the whole thing.

10:47 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I'm mixed up about it. The examples I see of love in books and movies seem more 'real' than real life, but maybe that's because I only watch/read stuff that agrees with what I'd like to believe. But the feeling I get from what the pope and Muller wrote about marriage, it being about duty to society over the feelings of the couple, is just wrongness.

12:07 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hmmm - thinking more about all this, I realized that what I want to believe, and what I have seen examples of in real life, is that some people can and do love each other for their whole lives. What creeps me out about what the pope and Muller wrote is that they *don't* believe in the lasing nature of love, and so they've opted for something else - duty and obligation. They don't believe in love!

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Yes,I think they get it backwards, maybe because they've chosen a life apart. We already know how to do duty and obligation sometimes until it kills us or makes us sick. Even so, people want those special relationships to last and look for ways to keep them I think. There are so many challenges and often we fail of course but then we need a different kind of help and our church could and should be there especially then.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

In our other discussion you wrote: The movies - I think that you wanted me to notice about them is that when people are in love, they will stay together even if one of them has an impairment or an illness. And I think by this you're pointing out love as agape or love as an action. Well, you’ve definitely verified that you are not a mind reader! ; ) Seriously though, you are way off the mark my friend, especially since you have not watched the movies! IF you ever see them you’ll see that they are all very different portrayals of aspects of this thing we call “love”. The French film is the most interesting – and, IMO, the most philosophical one – and the one I thought would spark the most conversation between us. And I suggested we start with movies precisely so we could look at the experience of love rather than philosophical discussions of love – which are sometimes just games of mental masturbation.

You then wrote: But the church wants to say that people who are married but who don't love each other romantically should still stay together, that the "staying together despite all difficulties" is what married love is. I don't think that's true. Permit me to haughty and tell you that it seems to me that you are either 1) conflating a scheme you have in your mind with what the facts of what the Church actually teaches and why (more on that below) or 2) demonstrating that you were badly catechized by whoever taught you the Faith (and yes, the same may be true for me as well – that’s why dialogue is useful!). Remember, we are both adult converts to Catholicism from non-Christian backgrounds so we had to be taught what the religion we were embracing actually taught - hopefully, in its holistic fullness.

I have to go back to work now but I will start to address your two points (and the comments here) the next time I comment.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I am on my lunch break so I can dash off a quick comment…

As you well know, Pope Francis’ statement on marriage must be examined with the Church’s teaching about marriage as a backdrop. And that teaching is clearly outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of which I have extracted some key paragraphs below:

1601 "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."

1614 In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning: permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.

1616 This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her," adding at once: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church."

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Part 2 ---

Now, you proclaim: I disagree with the church's definition of love/marriage - it bothers me for two reasons...

1) I think the church has an agenda that is to the church's advantage at the expense of married people .... the church wants them to stay married, even when they aren't in love with each other, even when they are violent with each other (see Müller).

To the Church’s advantage… really. What advantage? The Church is obligated (oops – yes, I used that bad word!) to adhere to what God has revealed – period.

“stay married, even when they aren't in love with each other, even when they are violent with each other…”

The Church teaches, as you already know, because Müller alludes to it - note my emphasis in bold: Admittedly there are situations – as every pastor knows – in which marital cohabitation [i.e., living together] becomes for all intents and purposes impossible for compelling reasons, such as physical or psychological violence. In such hard cases, the Church has always permitted the spouses to separate and no longer live together. It must be remembered, though, that the marriage bond of a valid union remains intact in the sight of God, and the individual parties are not free to contract a new marriage, as long as the spouse is alive. Pastors and Christian communities must therefore take pains to promote paths of reconciliation in these cases too, or, should that not be possible, to help the people concerned to confront their difficult situation in faith.

And even canon law states that spouses can and must separate if a situation is violent for the spouses or children.

Now – “even when they aren't in love with each other…” In love with each other – what does that mean? You’ve been married, I’ve been married (21 years), didn’t you have the experience that feelings of love ebb and flow? During courtship, everything is amazingly rosy but after 7 years, or ten years, or 20 years, things sure do look different.

Believe me, if “Love is only a feeling” then we are definitely in trouble! And yes, there are duties and obligations linked to love. Look at your experience – you love your sister, right? She loves you, right? Tell me that there are no duties and obligations (stated or unstated) linked to love. I don’t think it is possible!

More to come…

11:00 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Richard,

Yes, that's how it seems to me to - sort of backwards. I'm thinking love comes first and duty flows from that.

2:21 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

I am signed up for the movies at the library and I'll watch them. I might have trouble with the French one though because it's hard for me to see subtitles. I'm actually looking forward to The Keys to the Kingdom - maybe I'll post something about that one :)

What I wrote about the church's beliefs about marriage was based on what Francis and Muller wrote - I don't remember anything about that subject in RCIA classes and I hadn't read the catechism.

1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond ...
This is not exactly right - Jesus did equivocate, he said there were reasons people could divorce. And beyond that, we should ask why he said what he did: women's lives were very different back then and now they no longer need to be protected against abandonment.

About domestic violence - sure people can live apart from their violent spouses but Muller still says they're still chained to them in marriage forever. Not much of a concession.

Yes, I think there are feelings of obligation that come along when you love someone - love comes first and then feelings of obligation follow, I think - but what Pope Francis and Muller seem to have said was that duty and obligation "are" what love is. I think they are a product of the feeling of love, not love itself.

didn’t you have the experience that feelings of love ebb and flow? ...
Other people have said this to me too, that their feelings of love for someone come and go and that that is why they base their relationship on duty - because the feeling of love can't be trusted to be constant.

I actually don't really understand this. Yes, love can go away - I don't love my ex-husband anymore, though I did once love him. I think when love does go away, that means people should no longer be together. I know what it is like to be married to someone who doesn't love you and it's an awful experience. No one deserves to be married to someone who is only sticking around out of duty instead of love.

But .... to me the feeling of love can co-exist with anger or disappointment or boredom or hard times or hurt. I love my mother even though I'm still mad at her for so many things. Lots of times I'm mad at my sister or hurt by her but I haven't ever stopped loving her. I still loved my cats even when they were sick and it was hard to take care of them. I know most of the time when I love someone - I look inside and feel a sort of warm place in my chest - it's definitely a "feeling" for me, not a duty.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Thank you for overlooking my hastiness Crystal - I do appreciate your kindness! Oops sorry - I wasn’t thinking about the difficulty you might have reading the subtitles - I will check on the weekend to see if it is dubbed.

The majority of Biblical scholars believe that the Gospel of St. Mark was written first and in that Gospel Jesus did not utter an “escape clause” at all (see the Gospel of St. Mark - Chapter 10 verses 2-12), although He seems to give one (but it is only one - not many) in the Gospel of St. Matthew which is denoted by the Greek word porneia.

Now, some have argued that Mark’s Gospel is the more accurate one, and if that’s true, then there is no escape hatch at all.

So, for a variety of reasons which I am not presenting now for the sake of brevity, I believe it is inaccurate to say that “Jesus did equivocate, he said there were reasons people could divorce.”

But, do you really think it’s worthwhile for us to play a few rounds of biblical ping-pong? I don’t mind, if that’s what you want to do, but I am not sure it is the best use of our time at this particular moment.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Part 2
Perhaps a look at what takes place during a Catholic Christian marriage might help us move beyond our apparent logjam.

From my study of the subject, and from what I was taught, during the Rite of Marriage a covenant is formed when the man and woman participate in the exchange of consent (i.e., the exchange of vows). And currently, couples declare their consent using one of the following formulas:

1. I (name) take you (name) to be my wife/husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

2. I (name) take you (name) for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Now, the concept of “covenant” is a rich and vitally important theological concept and I suggest you research it if you are not familiar with it.

Most importantly though, I think you are attacking a “straw man” when you insist that the Church puts duty above love. After all, you, Richard, and I don’t believe that and - following on that popular phrase - we are the Church. So, yes, some individuals may believe that but they are, IMO, in the minority. And, of course, the head of the Church, Christ, certainly believed in the primacy of Love.

So, the difficulty question to answer is - what is love?

And I had proposed that we investigate this thing we call “love” from a human point of view - an experiential point of view - first so that we could then be in a better position to see if the Church builds on this experience or not.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I forgot to mention, that some theologians argue that the institution of marriage arises from an act of love ("the human act whereby the spouses mutually bestow and accept each other"), and that the institution protects love.

So, starting strictly from a human point of view, I am always amazed by the fact that the human person is a subject that loves. After all, why should this be so?

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Oops - I didn't catch an error... I meant "Thank you for overlooking my haughtiness Crystal - I do appreciate your kindness!

10:34 PM  
Anonymous henry said...

Here's a link about Marriage as a covenant:

http://www.foryourmarriage.org/marriage-as-covenant/

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Sorry about all the posts Crystal – my insomnia is scrambling my brain!

Your last three paragraphs really prompted me to engage in this existential investigation I mentioned before, and so, in an effort to contribute to our mutual exploration of our object – “love - I’d like to share with you the questions I asked myself when I looked at my experience.

When I think about my brothers and sisters I see that I could use the words you used: “I look inside and feel a sort of warm place in my chest.” Now, my degree of closeness to each of them varies but I want to focus on my brother Dan, who is only a year younger than me.

Alright, I am actually closer to my sister Liz, and I would definitely say that I have greater feelings for her compared to my feelings for Dan, but… I asked myself, if I stopped feeling a sort of warm place in my chest for Dan, would that mean that he stops being my brother?

Sure, I could answer that on “a subjective level” he would stop being my brother because I have decided that he is no longer my brother – but would that subjective act erase an objective fact? What do you think?

So yes, I agree with you and Richard that there is a tremendous amount of “mysteriousness” around this thing we, as a culture, call love.

I want to say more but time constraints dictate that I have post my additional comments later.

I hope you have a good day today my friend!

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Mysterious and speaking personally, Henry, the character and quality of love in my relationships seems mostly invisible, becoming more apparent during times of stress good and bad. Have you noticed that? In new circumstances my feelings and reactions to people I care about aren't always predictable. In the course of life I hope I've learned something about protecting and caring for those relationships but ultimately they seem vulnerable. I think grace can intervene and help us but some, not all, have a definite lifespan. Its funny, I feel like I could say the same thing about my pets, they're only meant to journey with me a little ways. I cherish that little ways none the less.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I am not quite sure what you mean by “seems mostly invisible” Richard but it somehow resonates with me. Could you provide an example that might shed light on what you mean?

I too, in my experience, have seen that some relationships of love have a “definite lifespan” but something deep inside me cries out - “this is not the way it’s supposed to be!” Intellectually I can except that this is what happens, and yet, the cry still arises. And it is this dynamic that fascinates me!!! Have you also had that experience?

I too hope that “I've learned something about protecting and caring for those relationships” but, alas, it seems that there is somehow an enemy within me that strives to destroy them. It’s almost as if a point comes when the hope I placed in “that love” is proven to be stupid and then I can taste what the Church calls the wound of Original Sin in a palpable way because I see the desire to consume my beloved – almost out of retribution for the false hope - fire up in me. I am not sure if what I am describing is clear, but it reminds me of something I read by Jean Vanier where when he started taking care of the people with disabilities he discovered the unknown evil inside himself.

1:17 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Wow - lots to comment on!

- The Vow is at the library waiting for me so I can probably watch it over the weekend.

- I wanted to address the statements made by the pope and the head of the CDF ... these are the leaders of our church. The pope wrote ... "the contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and needs of the couple" and he wrote ... "marriage is not born of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition but by obligation"

For me the issue is that the leaders of the church believe and are teaching that marriage is not entered into because of the feeling of romantic love and not sustained by the feeling of romantic love, but that marriage is a kind of social contract entered into out of duty to society, and romantic love is incidental and maybe even destructive to it.

- So no matter how much we discuss feelings and try to come up with a "feeling" of duty or obligation, the thing is that the leaders of the church don't trust feelings at all - they don't think obligation is a feeling, they think it is a decision, a willed act, and they (and Aristotle via Aquinas) want married love to be defined as an act chosen for the good of society, rather than a romantic feeling.

But this is all getting confusing :) so I don't know where to go from here except to say again that I do think marriage is about romantic love, and that without that, I don't see the point of being married.

3:11 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

PS - that Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's page on love is actually really helpful - it discusses all the ideas about what love is - a feeling or not a feeling ... http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/love/

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Did you notice that the extract you cited dwells in a section titled “Some Cultural Challenges”? This, to me, implies that the Pope is now going to look at what many have called “the culture war.”

So, since the Pope’s goal is to look at “some cultural challenges”, He begins section #66 as follows:

“66. The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.”

He then writes:

“Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.”

He then quotes from another document - CONFÉRENCE DES ÉVÊQUES DE FRANCE, Conseil Famille et Société, Élargir le mariage aux personnes de même sexe? Ouvrons le débat! (28 September 2012):

As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”.

So, let’s analyze these sections.

When you look at what’s happening in our culture, is the Pope’s opening sentence true or false?: The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. What makes you say that it is true, or conversely, false?

The second sentence reads: In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.” I believe that the Pope is asserting that the weakening of the bonds in this thing we call “the family” is “particularly serious” matter for EVERYONE because the “the family is the fundamental cell of society.” (So he is thinking about what is often referred to as “the common good.”) In my experience, what weakens the bonds in a family is lack of love or betrayal of love – and the consequences that flow from that! What do you think weakens the bonds in a family?

I am getting tired now because it is almost 1:30am so I will have to continue later.

I hope you enjoy the film.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I know there are practical things that strengthen them; adequate income,time for parenting,wholesome after school programs,safe neighborhoods,quality schools,emotional maturity. Where I live a lot of unsupervised free time,access to drugs and alcohol among the teenage crowd is divisive. I think if our church was more welcoming and inclusive it could help. Bedtime. Best, Rich

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal — I am probably being an idiot telling you this since you are as willfully stubborn as my youngest sister, but, as I’ve said before, you are creating and attacking a “straw man” – or better yet, promulgating a lie - when you insist that the Church puts duty above love. And even if you were right, which you have to proven at all, duty to what? Etc., etc.

But, in your defense, I think you are promulgating a lie because you were badly catechized!

But, it’s also clear that to me that you intentionally conspire to remain badly catechized by not even taking the time to read and study the Catechism on the Catholic Church, which outlines what those that claim to be Catholic Christians believe. If that’s too daunting to go through because it’s a thick book, then read and study the Compendium of Catechism on the Catholic Church, it’s thinner. I use both when I teach cradle Catholics and potential converts about this Faith that we freely agreed to adhere to proposes for belief.

There’s a John Kenneth Galbraith quote I think of often because it forces me to honestly ask myself a simple question: Am I giving more weight to my opinion than to the desire to know the Truth?

Here’s the quote: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

What are you giving weight to?

P.S. - yes, love and anger can definitely coexist in the human heart!!!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal — I am probably being an idiot telling you this since you are as willfully stubborn as my youngest sister, but, as I’ve said before, you are creating and attacking a “straw man” – or better yet, promulgating a lie - when you insist that the Church puts duty above love. And even if you were right, which you have not proven at all, duty to what? Etc., etc.

But, in your defense, I think you are promulgating a lie because you were badly catechized!

But, it’s also clear that to me that you intentionally conspire to remain badly catechized by not even taking the time to read and study the Catechism on the Catholic Church, which outlines what those that claim to be Catholic Christians believe. If that’s too daunting to go through because it’s a thick book, then read and study the Compendium of Catechism on the Catholic Church, it’s thinner. I use both when I teach cradle Catholics and potential converts about this Faith that we freely agreed to adhere to proposes for belief.

There’s a John Kenneth Galbraith quote I think of often because it forces me to honestly ask myself a simple question: Am I giving more weight to my opinion than to the desire to know the Truth?

Here’s the quote: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

What are you giving weight to?

P.S. - yes, love and anger can definitely coexist in the human heart!!!

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I gave my copy of the Catechism to one the candidates I sponsored but I don't remember the part about being a liar because you expect some romance in your marriage. No more date night I guess.

12:37 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

Yes, I'm poorly catechized, but I'm not basing my argument on the catechism - I am basing my argument on what the pope and the head of the CDF said (you did read my quotes from them in the post, right?). If we cannot look to what the pope and the CDF say as being representative of Catholic belief then I give up arguing.

As far as the truth goes, I do think I've fairly represented what the Pope and Muller said - direct quotes from extant documents in the public domain. I haven't read the catechism - are there real discrepancies between what the pope and Muller said and what the catechism says? At any rate, my argument is with the pope and Muller ... perhaps I should change my post to make that clear.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal - I offer my profoundest apology for my uncharitably written email - it’s never a good idea to write in anger especially after a sleepless night. Aaain, I am truly sorry!

I am not obviously not expressing myself well and I will try to do a better job tomorrow by demonstrating why I believe that the Church does not put duty above love as you assert..

No, you should not give up arguing, questioning, etc. - it’s one of my favorite things about you and something we share in common.

Richard - I like your humorous retort! Bravo.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I need to hire a proofreader! Here's what I meant to say without spelling errors. I am going to sleep before I do something dumb again.

****************************************

Crystal - I offer my profoundest apology for my uncharitably written comment - it’s never a good idea to write in anger especially after a sleepless night. Again, I am truly sorry!

I am not obviously not expressing myself well and I will try to do a better job tomorrow by demonstrating why I believe that the Church does not put duty above love as you assert..

No, you should not give up arguing, questioning, etc. - it’s one of my favorite things about you and something we share in common.

Richard - I like your humorous retort! Bravo.

3:59 PM

4:15 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

No worries :) Tonight: The Vow ... maybe I'll post something about it.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Thanks Crystal! Our conversation reminds me of the ones we used to have with Mike, so I prayed for him today (you too my friend) – perhaps you might find the time to say a prayer for him too.

I’ve spent a lot of time today asking myself: What is it that really bothers me about your assertion that “love is not a feeling but a duty or obligation” and “The church’s attempt to trivialize the emotion of love and to redefine it as duty fails - both of which are from your post “Evangelii Gaudium and marriage”?

And my answer is: “What really bothers me is that it’s not true, based on my experience and study, because the Church actually teaches that Love is a feeling AND a duty or obligation.”

And the Church MUST proclaim this because the foundation of Christianity is an amazing event: Love became (and continues to become) flesh!! And the Catechism, in my opinion, is a great resource because it is a book that compiles, in one place, the fruit of the reflections of those who came before us on the repercussions on this event of Love.

For example, paragraph #2392 in the Catechesim says an outstanding thing: "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being" (FC 11). Wow, think about that - amazing!

And this is an extract from the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio:

“God created man [i.e., man in the inclusive sense] in his own image and likeness; calling him to existence through love, he called him at the same time for love.

God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.”

So, starting from an investigation of my experience as a human being, as well as a person that strives to understand and embrace the unconditional love offered to me through the resurrected God/man, I believe it is absolutely accurate to say that Love is more than a feeling. Note, it says “MORE THAN” not NOT!

If you want, I can continue my analysis of the texts you cited after Christmas because I am going to post one or two more comments before fasting from the internet to prepare for Christmas.

So, my friend, I will close this comment but telling you that I pray that the Christ Child will flood you and your sister (and all those you love) with a palpable awareness of His gratuitous, unconditional, love!

1:42 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I do think of Mike often.

I don't think love is just about being human - animals love too! :)

I think the church doesn't trust love as a feeling and so bypass it and go to acts and duty, but to paraphrase Paul, good acts without love are empty. But I think what bothers me personally is I would hate to be "loved: as a duty and not out of feeling.

But anyway, I do have to admit that there may be more to the idea of love than "just" feelings, at least in the way Jesus meant it, because he commanded people to love others, and I don't see how love as a feeling can be commanded. More to think about!

Thanks for the discussion, Henry :)

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Hi Crystal - Did you want to keep exploring this together?

6:52 AM  

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