Chapter 2: Love Defined- Giving vs. Using

30 12 2009

Deep in our hearts, each of us wants to give and receive love, but most of us don’t know how to do this. In Chapter 1, we established that many people today have a confused idea about love and the purpose of sexuality. One major reason for this confusion is that we make so many decisions because they “feel good” and not because they are rooted in truth. Basing decisions, primarily on feelings can cause real problems, as feelings are fleeting and can easily change from one moment to the next . Truth, however, is stable and reliable.

In order for people to love one another properly, they must first desire what is good for the other person. In this chapter, you will discover what authentic love looks like and  learn the difference between “love” that is “self-seeking” – that is actually lust, and real love that is self-donating.

Many of the things we learn as children come from imitating what we see others doing, especially those in our families. Learning to love can be difficult when so many of us do not have excellent examples to learn from. This is a major reason why so many misunderstand what love really is.

We often confuse love with simple attraction. This usually becomes a problem when the attraction fades away. Or, we may engage in deeply intimate acts with someone because our attractions are so strong –  only to find out that we couldn’t stand the idea of being with that person for the rest of our lives. What is it that draws a man and a woman together and sustains them when physical attraction is no longer there?

What is love?

People talk about finding “true love”, but what is it? PJP II explained:

For love is not merely a feeling; it is an act of will that consists of preferring, in a constant manner, the good of others to the good of oneself.

In other words, you can’t judge the value of love by the intensity of the emotion. It’s not enough to feel attractions or simply to want love. We must strive to know what is best for the other, and then make an actual commitment of our wills to bring about this “good” for the other. A great place to begin learning how to love is to understand JPJ II’s insights in his book Love and Responsibility

Til then, stay tuned for the next topic (next Wednesday) – Chastity & Happiness.


Dominus vobiscum et cum spiritu tuo!

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