What is Love?

love-chaptersignOn this feast of St. Valentine, my thoughts are not quiet. It seems as if the evil that is manifest in the happenings of these days is pressing against the screen that guards my spirit.

So. I will think about other things. Lovely things. Beautiful thoughts and sights. As my grandmother told her children, “think beautiful thoughts of nature”, and my mother said, “think quiet thoughts”, so I shall.

Love, in all of its manifestations, is the greatest thing that we have. As the Love Chapter concludes, And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

As humans, the first love we experience is our Parents’ Love. It is our shelter from the world as we grow and develop into the persons we will be. In an ideal world, each child would have this parental love to protect and guide him.

a-parents-love2

  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

John 16:21 (NIV)

Then there is the Love of Friends – love that will carry us through our lives.

A Time to Talk
By Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

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May our friendship last forever
by Nicholas Gordon

May our friendship last forever;
May I sail upon your sea.
May we go through life together;
May there always be a “we.”
May I be your endless sky;
May you breathe my gentle air.
May you never wonder why
Each time you look for me, I’m there.

May we be for each a smile
Like the warm, life-giving sun;
Yet when we’re in pain awhile,
May our suffering be one.

May we share our special days,
The happiness of one for two;
And if we must go separate ways,
Let my love remain with you.

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Romantic love – what we think of first when the word “love” is spoken – is endlessly discussed. Poems and books by the bucket load are written, and music composed, and paintings painted.

Sonnet CXVI
by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh, no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests.. and is never shaken.
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love is not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out.. even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

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How Do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth
and breadth
and height
My soul can reach,
when feeling out of sight.
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need,
by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely,
as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely,
as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion
put to use In my old griefs,
and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,
–I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears,
of all my life!
–and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

dividerbittersweetThe ultimate love is God’s love for us, demonstrated by the gift of his son, Jesus Christ, and eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16-17

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Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

dividerbittersweetWho was St. Valentine?

Not a great deal is known about Saint Valentine; this is summarized here by Wikipedia:

Saint Valentine (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus), officially Saint Valentine of Terni, is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages is associated with a tradition of courtly love.

All that is reliably known of the saint commemorated on February 14 is his name and that he was martyred and buried at a cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome on that day. It is uncertain whether St. Valentine is to be identified as one saint or the conflation of two saints of the same name. Several different martyrologies have been added to later hagiographies that are unreliable.

Because so little is reliably known of him, in 1969 the Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars. The Roman Catholic Church continues to recognize him as a saint, listing him as such in the February 14 entry in the Roman Martyrology, and authorizing liturgical veneration of him on February 14 in any place where that day is not devoted to some other obligatory celebration in accordance with the rule that on such a day the Mass may be that of any saint listed in the Martyrology for that day. Use of the pre-1970 liturgical calendar is also authorized under the conditions indicated in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 2007. Saint Valentine’s Church in Rome, built in 1960 for the needs of the Olympic Village, continues as a modern, well-visited parish church.

Saint Valentine is commemorated in the Anglican Communion, as well as in Lutheranism. By some of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Valentine the Presbyter of Rome is celebrated on July 6 and Hieromartyr Valentine (Bishop of Interamna, Terni in Italy) is celebrated on July 30. Notwithstanding, because of the relative obscurity of these two saints in the East and since there is no commemoration of St. Valentine in the Greek Orthodox Church, members of the Greek Orthodox Church named Valentinos (male) or Valentina (female) may observe their name day on the Western ecclesiastical calendar date of February 14.

loveoneanother

This entry was posted in Family, History, Holidays, Nostalgia, Religion, The Culture, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What is Love?

  1. John Denney says:

    Our adult Sunday school teacher, a former dean of Greek studies, tells us the Greek word “agape” (God’s love) means to hold in relative high regard. A Greek soldier felt agape toward his sword and shield, because his very life depended upon them. It indicates a sense of value, to treasure, to cherish. This sense comes across when Jesus spoke of birds not sowing or reaping, yet God feeds them, and that you are worth much more than birds.
    Peter says we were not redeemed with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, which again speaks to how much God treasures us.
    So to love others, as the Lord commanded, requires one recognize their true value, that Christ valued them so much that He died on the cross for them, and even me.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. lovely says:

    Speaking of love I went to a baby shower on Sunday. It was a home full of love and the promise of tomorrows child. So warm and welcoming of life ❤️

    Anyhow.

    The shower was at a home that I had never been to before so I put the address in my car’s navigator (it was about 22 minutes away out in the country) and went on my way. the little voice told me “You have arrived at your destination on the right hand side.” There was no driveway or house right there which isn’t entirely unusual when houses are spaced far apart so I continued in to the next driveway. There were several cars in the driveway and a man loading up his truck so I rolled down my window and yelled “Is this Lisa’s baby shower?” He shook his head yes and waved me in.

    I parked and he proceeded to bring me in the house where I met 3 women who I didn’t know but I didn’t know the host of the baby shower so I didn’t think it was that strange. I was welcomed with a hug and offered a beverage and some snacks. I’m not sure why but I suddenly felt like I was in the wrong house so I said I think I may be in the wrong house is this Lisa’s baby shower ? The ladies were like no aren’t you here for the bible study? 😂

    It seems the husband didn’t really hear what I asked and just assumed I was there for the bible study.

    The ladies invited me to stay or to come back if I wouldn’t find the shower. (It turned out the house was a farm house set back on the property right before I reached the bible study house. Anyhow we all had a good laugh and I left. But what are the chances of two houses on a country road having an event where the host isn’t going to know people starting at the same time?

    Liked by 6 people

    • michellc says:

      It’s been several years ago now but my place was chosen for a family reunion, one of my brothers had never been to my house, this was before GPS, not that GPS could probably have found it, it can’t find me now. lol

      Anyway, it was my sister who gave him directions and when she told him to turn on the dirt road that we were the first house on the right, she didn’t take into account since the actual first house faced the other road, their driveway was the first driveway on the right. We lived 2 miles down the dirt road, which I would have told him if I had given the directions and our house could not be seen from the road.

      He stops at the first house, who had several cars parked out front because they also were having a family reunion. He said someone shoved a paper plate, plastic silverware and a napkin in his hand and pointed him to the food line.
      He eventually borrowed their phone, this was before cellphones as well and called and I gave him directions.
      We all got a good laugh about him crashing a family reunion.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. amwick says:

    Ty, this left me thinking..
    Love? I see it as a connection. Because my mind works this way, I see pictures.. I see people flying/floating through life,, like those giant Macy’s parade balloons… What keeps them grounded?,,, it’s those ropes, and the handlers on the other end.. That rope is the connection, and in many ways, that is love… Ok, this is not a perfect analogy.. but I have often thought of lost people drifting, because there was no love in their life. Each time a connection is broken, well it hurts a bit.. I know this very well right now..

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Menagerie says:

    Thank you Stella. You have given us much to appreciate, and to think about.

    Today, as I do most Vatlentine’s Days, I think most of my husband. For me, he is not only the most important and well loved man in my life, my friend, my rock. He is also evidence of God’s love for me. He, and the rollicking, loud, rough, tough, fun and loving family I married into have been everything I hoped for and more. And no, I’m not so sappy that I believe there is one great love only out there for each of us. I just believe that God blessed us, and we worked hard together.

    Now, the last few years I enjoy seeing the lovely and wonderful women my sons have chosen to build a life and family with, and I appreciate love all the more.

    Today we most celebrate romantic love, but the truth is a lot deeper. Love has to be tough, and you have to make some big, ferocious sacrifices. Indeed, to my mind, love will always require sacrifice.

    BTW, St. Valentine reportedly married Christian couples against the will of the emperor, costing him the sacrifice of his life.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Col.(R) Ken says:

    Just a thank you Stella!!!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. John Denney says:

    “Love is the pain you can’t refuse.” – unknown

    Liked by 5 people

  7. nyetneetot says:

    Oh, I don’t know why you’re not there
    I give you my love but you don’t care
    So what is right and what is wrong?
    Give me a sign

    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more

    Oh, I don’t know why you’re not there
    I give you my love but you don’t care
    So what is right and what is wrong?
    Give me a sign

    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    What is love?

    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more
    What is love?
    Baby, don’t hurt me
    Baby, don’t hurt me no more

    Like

  8. nyetneetot says:

    For some, “Love is” not being beaten unconscious with a Badminton racket due to forgetting to let your “love” win.

    Liked by 2 people

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