Valentine’s Day seems to be all about love. In society it is mostly reduced to the romantic relationship between two people. This often creates an image of lust rather than love, which leads to crises once the relationship is no longer pricking.
There is not one love – but seven
In addition to the romantic ideal in novels, films and art, this is also due to the fact that there is only one word for love in the German language. In Greek philosophy, on the other hand, there are seven variants:
- erosSexual love that is strongly based on physical attraction
- and DOSThe free, casual, or fun love we now call flirting. This includes new forms of relationships such as polyandry, extra friendship, and open relationships
- philiaThe platonic spiritual love of friends
- storageThe love between parents, children, siblings and other relatives is caring for each other
- pragmaThe rational, long-lasting love between people who have been together their whole lives
- philoteaSelf-love in which a person accepts himself with all his faults
- agapeThe universal love of neighbour, which at the same time also contains the love of God
Anselm Groen: Lack of Relationships is a Disease of Our Time
Ideally, these seven types of love depend on each other: so that a person loves himself, his fellow human beings, nature, God and everything around him. Many have lost it, says Father Anselm Groen of the Benedictine monastery in Münsterschwarzach: “The Church Fathers say, How can you feel God if you do not feel yourself?”
According to the Benedictine experience, many people are not in contact with themselves at all. “Psychologists say that the great disease of our time is the lack of relationships. And that they have no relationship to themselves, nor to things, nor to people. Hence they cannot feel a relationship with God either.”
Finding God’s Love Through Meditation
Anselm Grün has had this relationship with God since he was twenty, writing about it in his books and helping people who have trouble finding God or the love of God in meditation. “The path to God can also lead me through myself,” says Anselm Grün, “but that means I keep quiet, and listen to myself.”
In this silence, may the story of your life and all your personal problems appear. “But,” says the father, “if you go deep into all the chaos inside me, then at least I have come across a secret greater than myself and that is God in the end.” If I still feel then: This is God’s love. Then the longing for this love awakens me.”
Romantic films are about courtship and sexual infatuation
In Christianity, God is the source of all love. Some view the fact that he created Eve from Adam’s rib as a reason why you are incomplete on your own. And with the expulsion from Heaven came daily life in which love can only be Eros. But there are few love films about this everyday life.
The problem is that the very short stages of courtship – Ludus – and sexual infatuation – Eros – are already described in classic love films, as Protestant theologian and Reverend Traugot Roser says: “And you have to be very strong with all the ideas we see you have of love today, consider They are strongly shaped by the ideals that come to us through the great novels or the small novels.”
There is only one happy ending: true love
According to the theologian, the ideal of romantic love is always transmitted to us in films and novels. “With this wonderful encounter, which works from the start. But the exciting thing about these movies is that it’s not just about that feeling of love, but the movies have a happy ending when romantic love is true love.”
If this fact is missing in a love affair between two people, then problems often arise in real life as well. There are also informal and open relationships. But people often feel betrayed not only when it comes to sexual issues, but also when their partner is hiding something from them.
Charity is a special kind of love
Agape – love – is a special exception among the seven types of love. While for many it includes family, friends, neighbors or colleagues, for monks like Father Anselm Grün it is a path to God. Unconditional contact with all people, living beings and the entire divine creation.
“Love is not just a small, narrow desire to love and possess others.” Father Anselm Green
For example, when Paul wrote about love in the First Letter to the Corinthians, he wrote about love as strength, similar to Plato, according to the Benedictines: “Love believes in all things, hopes in all things. Love strengthens us. Love does not count. It is simply like strength.” that binds us deep down.”
Plato: Love gives us the opportunity to find something beautiful
For Plato – the philosopher with a Platonic love without an ulterior motive – beauty is closely related to love. Not in the sense that we should all chase only our chosen, beautiful people, but like this: love gives us the opportunity to find something beautiful. as it is. This applies to people, places, animals, or other things as well as to ourselves.
This is why flute, healthy self-love, is also the basis for giving love — and the opposite of narcissism. Narcissists love a false idea of themselves. Proponents of love love themselves even though they are not perfect. Trout Roser believes that Valentine’s Day should also be a day for singles.
Valentine’s Day is also a day for singles
Theologian says it’s a day for singles “I’m assuming I’m missing something.” “Should I care about the couple’s relationship now or delete this day from the calendar? No. I think the main topic being addressed is self-love. Self-love is part of love.”
It is not in vain that Jesus’ commandment in love contains the sentence “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” along with the commandment “You shall love the Lord God.” “It includes self-love,” explains Traugott Roser.
love for all
Whether it is free love, erotic love, self-love, friendship, motherly love, fatherly love, fraternal love, charity, or love for God: Valentine’s Day should remind us that we are not alone. After all, love is for everyone.