Thursday, June 27, 2019



by Bryan J. Neva, Sr.

In 1972, USC Professor Leo Buscaglia published a book called Love which became an instant bestseller.  Latter on, PBS came calling and televised his motivational speeches on love to great fanfare and profit.  He began touring around the U.S. giving motivational speeches on love to sold-out venues.  Dr. Buscaglia usually ended his talks by saying, "Love is life.  And if you miss love, you miss life!"  

Much of Jesus' message to his followers was on the motivating power of love.  Once someone asked him, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?  And Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and  with all your mind.'  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40).

Years latter, the Apostle Paul would write to the Church in Corinth, "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."  (I Corinthians 13:1-13).

But love is more than a feel-good concept.  What exactly does love of God and neighbor really mean?  It's a big concept that involves humility, perseverance, risk and sacrifice.  Our modern concept of love is influenced too much by Hollywood and the Media.  People have the mistaken notion that one can fall into or out of love.  But this is a very superficial form of love.  Love is not a feeling but a free choice of the will.

The Greeks had four words for love: eros, philia, storge, and agape.  Eros is the passionate form of love.  Philia is the friendship form of love.  Storge is the familial form of love.  And agape is the altruistic form of love.  We as human beings experience all four kinds of love: eros, philia, storge, and agape.  When we first meet someone we experience eros and philia which eventually leads to marriage and children when we experience storge.  Agape is something we experience spiritually when we strive to love God and our neighbor altruistically.  So love is something we choose to do.

Leo Buscaglia wrote in his book Love, "Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly, and without expectation.  We don't love to be loved; we love to love."

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