Love Seeks the Totality. Vol. 3, No.1

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One of the greatest submissions of truth is that love is the strongest, most unyielding, invincible and creative force in human experience. It is also the impelling motive for creation. Besides, Solomon was not mincing words when he confessed “many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away” (Songs of Solomon 5:7). Moreover, if we put the mirror down even for a moment, we must not fail to realize that every human heart in the world without exception is on quest for love. There is always a desire to love and be loved though we may not always be conscious of it.
Far more importantly, it is worthy to note that no value in human life has received much attention as love. It is perhaps the most written and spoken about subject in the world. Books, Films, Music are replete with themes of love: its meaning and power. Various poets sing songs of love and the pop tones are full on it. Widely discussed in the T.Vs, echoes in Radios, written about in many News Papers and Magazines, explosively described in various website and flashed on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram and Imo. Yet, the truth remains that it has been severely mutilated and has continued to loose its supposed depth and meaning, power and value. It has often been confused with sentimentality, sensuality, lust, infatuation etc. Besides, these words are not convertible with love; they seek the part while love seeks the totality.
Yes, love is misunderstood a lot today because love has many dimensions. Love can signify passion, desire, friendliness, intimacy, attachment, satisfaction or esteem. In summary, there are different kinds of love. They include:
Storge: This is affection based on a natural bond such as family relationship. It is love between family members. It is love for ones nearest and dearest based on blood ties.
Eros: This is passionate or possessive love. It is instinctive, irrational, sensuous love which man shares with the animals and it is geared to satisfying the need of biological life.
Philia: This is affection based on friendship. It is mutual fondness or enthusiasm for one another based often on common interest. It goes with respect for each other. It also involves intimacy and tender love. It is called friendship.
Agape: This is love in the true sense the word. This is unconquerable benevolence towards others. This can only be achieved by the conquest of self whereby we develop an unconquerable caring for other people. This is love as a Christian virtue. This level of love enables people to seek the good of others no matter what others do say to them. It is the triumph of the spirit.
Against the erroneous conception of many, who misconstrue love to be emotion, I wish to express the certainty that love is also a supernatural virtue. The Romantics for instance, because they are living on the level of eros, which is the level man shares with the beast, then tend to absolutise the sexual side of love. This is more an expression of passion and cannot replace the totality of love. In other words, Christian love surpasses romantic love.
Nevertheless, love is so central to our Christian life that its discussion borders on the fundamentals or the main raison d’etre of our calling. Every Christian is called to love without measure. This is because being human and imperfect, we can never love too much. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). He is the only perfect love. We, as humans are only participating in God’s love when we respond to our Christian calling as his children.
From a comparative perspective, Christian love is a thing of the will, family love and friendship are matters of the heart, instinctive love is an expression of emotion, and Agape is a decision of the will, which transcends sentiments and emotions. It is the kind of love that is required to address the socio-economic challenges/ difficulties in our country Nigeria. This love does not wait for comforts and conveniences. The more challenging the circumstances, the more love can shine. This is the proper time to love. Rather than being frustrated, we must persevere in sincere love. But among the above mentioned kinds of love, is there any that is not necessary? Your opinions are welcomed until we reflect it in next series.

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