Love is a profound expression that already exists in the universe, humans merely tap into that expression and embrace its effects. The charitable heart of the human being recognizes love when it encounters the manifestation of its beauty, because the fabric of love is woven into the human heart. The mysterious nature of love requires deep contemplation and attention to understand its value and purpose. The ancient Greeks understood love required careful attention as to the description of its character and meaning. For the Greeks, the essence of love required many words. In fact the Greeks used five words to describe love:
Mania; the obsessive version of love. It could be referred to as the possessive version. To have control over a significant other. Literally meaning “madness” in the Greek, referring to a spirit or a group of spirits, “personifying insanity.”
Eros; this would be the feeling of love. The emotional experience we encounter as we develop an affinity with another human being or our children for instance. Eros, was the “Greek god of love” in mythology, while Cupid was his counterpart in Roman mythology.
Philos; is a fondness for someone or something. Philo of course is used in Philosophy (philo; the love of, sophia; wisdom).
Storge; is considered to be the explanation for natural affection, as in a mothers affection for her child.
Agape; this is the unconditional love, often referred to in the Christian tradition. More profoundly the self sacrificial love of one for the sake of another.
The message of Jesus was agape love. He sacrificed His life for all humanity to show us our path as living creatures in His image. We have been called to follow His path, which is to sacrifice our worldly life for the sake of our spiritual life. Jesus said, “I must be lifted up so I can draw all men to me.” Where is He? He’s on a cross, where He was crucified by His own people. I love the story of the crucifixion because it is so relevant to our own lives. We are literally crucified continuously throughout life. Life is a continuous series of passion, death and resurrection. We suffer spiritually, emotionally, physically and psychologically just as He did. And we are resurrected from our sufferings possessing a greater sense of wisdom that we could not obtain without having first endured our sufferings.
Whether or not you are a Christian really makes no difference, there is still profound Truth to be found in the event of the crucifixion, and a tremendous amount of wisdom to be gained from its message. Most importantly, the crucifixion did take place, and there is historical evidence to support it; what we draw from the event will be left to us. Jesus said, “The servant is no better than the master”, and “where I am there my servant will be.” Jesus lifted Himself up on the cross to draw “all men” to Himself. We are all drawn to His message, free will permits us to choose which path to follow.
The crucifixion is the worst evil that could have ever occurred, while simultaneously becoming the greatest good to have ever occurred. Jesus was killed by His own creation, while simultaneously through repentance, those that persecuted Him could now be accepted into Heaven. It is the ultimate human paradox. We all enter into this paradox. It is the unavoidable path of human life. This event provides an image of the journey into the Truth. If you wan t to know your own identity look to the crucifixion as a means to discover it. The crucifixion is by far the greatest act of love in human history.
Unfortunately, in the English language we only have one word to describe love. If you stop and ask someone what love is, they might pause to think about what type of love you actually mean. Love is something we can feel, but it is more so something we apply as a powerful source of strength to bond relationships and families together, to defeat evil and darkness in an individual or community, to bring peace to a community, or to a restless heart in trouble, lastly to provide nourishment and care for those individuals who still suffer. Love is such a difficult thing to describe because its place is not from within the framework of language (although we work tirelessly to describe love through language). Love resides within the human heart. It is a living principle available to everyone who answers its call. Love is always waiting there to be unleashed.
The heart also possesses “evil thoughts” and can often deceive us. It is home to a strange dichotomy, which ties directly into the human paradox. This paradox of the human spirit is a battle we fight internally throughout our lives. The heart, the mind, and the spirit work in connection with one another, and anytime one of those three is not in harmony with the other two, there is an internal war going on. The heart is driven by this dichotomy, which leads the mind, and guides the spirit. The key is to be able to make the distinction between that which is intrinsically evil, and that which purely contains Truth. The message of Truth comes from God, while evil comes from the world, which is controlled by the other guy. Restless hearts are “darkened” and will remain restless until they can identify the Truth. The heart will always be restless until it rests with God. As St Augustine so famously said, “Our hearts are restless oh Lord until they rest in you”
Written by, John J Barrett Jr.