What is Love?

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Recently after I posted about how it is a struggle to find common ground with people who have vastly different worldviews, someone posted a comment saying, “Can’t we all just love one another?”

And here is another fundamental divergence between worldviews: the meaning of the word “love”. When someone says that word, do they mean:

a) We should allow people to do whatever they want, whatever makes them happy (live and let live)
b) We should have warm feelings towards other human beings
c) We should “will the good of the other” (Aquinas’ definition)

The divergence of definitions of this word “love” is a key source of disagreement in many of our modern cultural wars.

(For the record, the true answer is “C”, which involves understanding and willing the objective good of the person — not merely their subjective comfort or the fulfillment of their every desire, if the desires be contrary to their own temporal and eternal fulfillment).


Photo: Amy Shamblen on Unsplash / PD-US.
Fr. Joseph Gill

Fr. Joseph Gill

Fr. Joseph Gill grew up in a musical family in Frederick, MD, the oldest of five children. His father taught him piano from a young age, and his mother often sang in the church choir. He began writing songs very young, honing his skill further when he received his first guitar. After his conversion, he dedicated his life and his songwriting to the Lord [https://frjosephgill.bandcamp.com/]. Fr. Gill was ordained a Catholic priest in May 2013. He is currently serving at the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist, Stamford, Connecticut. He shares his homilies at http://thecrossstands.blogspot.com/

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2 thoughts on “What is Love?”

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    Very important topic, as this is fundamental to Christianity. A similar definition, secularly, is “helping others avoid pain and suffering at any cost”; I love you if I am easing your way in life regardless of your direction.

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