Love is expressed in many aspects: in love for others – parents, siblings, friends – love for ourselves, for an ideal, for our work, for our purpose in life, for God and for life itself. It is a positive attitude with which we face life and ourselves and our fellow human beings.
There is no doubt that love is the strength in our souls. A strong positive driving force that drives us and allows us to achieve great things. It leads us out of loneliness and builds bridges between people. It is a strong feeling of mutual appreciation, affection, connection and also the source of the highest happiness. It is ultimately what holds the world together.
Everything is nothing without love – an existence marked by hatred, envy, or indifference would be anything but worth living. Where love is missing in life, a dark feeling of apathy, inner emptiness and meaninglessness permeates the soul. However, many people today strive for physical success, strength, and sex more than they do for true true love. Albert Schweitzer already knew: “The only thing that matters in life is the trail of love we leave behind when we leave.” Or, as Wilhelm Bosch said: “The sum of our lives is the hours we have loved.” Life is in a nutshell, and while many of us may have closed our hearts with injury and feared further disappointment, it’s never too late to open up about love.
Love is engraved in the human ‘scheme’
But many people have the wrong idea about love. This often begins with the expectations of the dream partner. We often like only the romantic ideal of our partner and not the person he really is – with all his strengths and weaknesses. We also unconsciously pass on many unresolved issues from childhood that lead to feelings such as anger, jealousy and fear to our partner. Others want to be loved, to be appreciated and appreciated, but without endowing themselves. They want their partner to make them happy, even though they are not happy with themselves. So how do we as a couple find true love, the love that truly lasts and fills our hearts?
“God is love” – with these words the Apostle John describes the nature and mystery of God. And in the image of this love, as the Book of Genesis says, we humans are created: “God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him. He created them as male and female.” Concretely, this means: We were created according to “God’s plan,” which is deeply engraved In our hearts. We are called to a deep friendship with God who is full of love. More than that: God comes to us with all his power and love. Because Jesus is this God’s grace, he is the source of love so that we as a couple can accept ourselves and each other more deeply. St. John Paul II puts it this way in Redemptor Hominis 10: “Man cannot live without love. He remains for himself an incomprehensible being. His life is meaningless if love is not revealed to him, if he does not face love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, If he does not get a living share in it.”
We do not know it from personal experience: I can only give what I have. Or vice versa: in order to be able to present myself, I must first accept myself. John Paul calls this “the logic of giving.” The genius thing is: I gift myself! Each person has his hidden beginning in life, first and foremost, in the creative love of God. God created me out of a love that you gave me freely: He wanted me and loved me first and for myself. God confirms my being deeply, He says yes to me. On this basis my life can rest safely. In the joy of this origin I can then receive myself as a gift from God. I can look with gratitude and amazement at the miracle of my life and be what I am to God: the son of a loving father.
Only he who lays down his life wins it
In the logic of giving, the second step now comes: as the image of God, we are created for devotion: we want out of love, we realize ourselves even when we give ourselves. Only by giving ourselves can we become happy and find ourselves. What is my experience with it? When I give myself up, my life becomes wide and bright. On the other hand, when I try to keep my life scary, I stay in “my own prison” and often lack deep joy and happiness.
It is a common misconception to think of love as just a feeling. The “feeling of infatuation” is triggered by the precursor enzyme phenylethylamine, which is produced in the adrenal glands. Therefore, its origin is biological and has nothing to do with love. In fact, love is a choice and a gift. To truly love someone is to give yourself to that person. Giving applies to the human being as a whole, body and soul. This can have many faces: from understanding listening, a comfortable hug to sexual union in marriage.
People need to experience themselves as a gift
Some people find it difficult to experience themselves as a precious gift. Her core conviction is: “I am nothing, I can do nothing, I am good at nothing.” As a result, it is difficult for her to give herself to others in love. I can only give what I have. For those who possess themselves – according to John Paul II – can make themselves a true gift to others. Because identity is a prerequisite for intimacy. Only those who know who they are can commit to you and completely give themselves away.
Corbin Gams is an author and lecturer in theology of the body at the Benedict XVI School of Theological Philosophy. Heiligenkreuz” in Austria.
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