The nature of true love or agape, which verily expects nothing in return, is to diffuse itself to others. The embodiment of a couple’s love for each other is brought into fruition by their love for their children, whose love in turn shall be passed or diffused to the grandchildren.
In Greek, there are three etymological meanings or forms of love: 1) eros, which refers to sensual, erotic or sexual love; 2) philos, which is filial, family, friendly, or philanthropic love; and 3) agape, which means benevolent love.
True love or the highest form of love is agape, which has two basic characteristics: One, it is unconditional (it sets no limits or conditions, and neither does it expect any return); two, it is universal (it is inclusive and does not discriminate anyone, including one’s enemy).
As can be gleaned from our usual or typical scheme of things, it is possible to give even without loving; or that there are those who give, not so out of love, but simply because they are capable of giving.
But, could the reverse, i.e. to love without giving, be possible too?
The answer is No. It’s not possible to love without giving, because giving is an inherent operative character of loving, or because giving is already presupposed in loving – and the greatest gift of love that one can give is oneself.
In other words, simply put, true love diffuses itself. Amor est diffusivum sui. That’s the very nature of love – to give itself.
Propitiously, this theme of love diffusing itself was resonant in last week’s Sunday gospel, John 15:9-17, Sixth Sunday of Easter. It speaks about Jesus telling his disciples:
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you...This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.”
It is interesting to note, from this passage, that Jesus did not say,
“as the Father has loved me, so I have loved Him too”; nor did he say to his disciples, "you should love me as I have loved you.”
Clearly, hence, “as the Father has loved Jesus, so he also loved his disciples”, and “as Jesus loved his disciples, so they in turn should love one another”.
In other words, the nature of true love or agape, which verily expects nothing in return, is to diffuse itself to others. The embodiment of a couple’s love for each other is brought into fruition by their love for their children, whose love in turn shall be passed or diffused to the grandchildren.
God’s love, the greatest kind of love, diffuses itself to us – then to one another. Loving God is simply loving one another. Simple, yes – but that is life’s basic purpose.
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