Thanks for another Symbolon session it was a marvellous one as we had so much to celebrate. Firstly, a big shoutout to Ikenna as it was his birthday and he let us all know….very well! We spent our morning at Ikoyi Prison, where there was a spiritual ‘turn up’ by the inmates. We joined a great celebration of welcoming about 5 inmates to the Catholic Church through the sacrament of Baptism and 3 other inmates with the reception of their first Holy Communion. After the prison, we had Symbolon session which was hosted by Amanda and attended by Father Anthony, the secretary to the Archbishop of the Lagos Archdiocese. We watched the episode called A Love That Lasts which was about finding authentic love i.e. The differences between what love really means and how its portrayed in the world. More on this with answers to some questions we asked Father Anthony during the session below. Happy Reading!
- We considered two dimensions of love – eros and agape. Eros is the Greek word that describes that passionate love that suddenly overcomes you. It looks inward and focuses on the good feeling and the pleasure one receives in a romantic relationship. It is often seen as ‘worldly love’ (Deus Caritas Est, 3).
- The Bible uses the Greek word agape to describe total, committed, unconditional and even sacrificial love. This is the love that God has for us, and the kind of love that we are to have for each other, especially in marital love (Deus Caritas Est, 7-9).
- Eros and agape are not intrinsically opposed. However, when eros is taken completely separately from agape, it becomes selfish, not focused on the other, and can turn into using of the other person (Deus Caritas Est, 5)
- The Christian view of love is when eros and agape are untied in Christ, and the love of eros ascends to the love of agape and love becomes a true self gift, and willing the good for the other (Deus Caritas Est, 6,10).
- “By contrast with an indeterminate ‘searching’ love, this word (agape) expresses the experience of love which experiences a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character that prevailed earlier. Love now becomes concern and care for the other” (Deus Caritas Est, 6).
- Vatican II teaches that man, who is created in the image and likeness of God, is called to imitate the self-giving love of the Trinity: “This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (Gaudium et Spes, 24).
- God gave man and woman the vocation of love and thus the ability to love as he loves us (CCC 2331).
- Marriage and sexual love are ordered to this complete self-giving of husband and wife – “Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice.’ The ‘intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require and unbreakable union between them’” (CCC 1646).
Other points discussed:
A question was asked with reference to an extreme example of an abusive relationship was raised: Where do you draw the line between stupidity and real authentic love?
- As human beings we are meant to love happily knowing we are not going to receive anything in return. However, this is where the cardinal virtue of prudence needs to be developed, which is basically doing what’s good and avoiding what’s bad. More on the prudence here.
How do you hear the Holy Spirit (for discernment)?
- Silence: spend some time in silence, meditating on Gods’ word. This could mean sitting in a chapel in silence or kneeling in front of the blessed sacrament repeating “Jesus I love you,” or taking deep breaths to calm your mind or listening to calm music. Finding an atmosphere of silence and fostering an attitude of silence creates a disposition to hearing the Holy Spirit.
- For discernment, don’t be in a hurry to make decisions. Remember to pray always.