Aloha Friday Message – June 24, 2006

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WOW! this has been a crazy time! Crucita and I took Monday and Tuesday off and did a bunch of work around the house and managed to get in a little time at Todd Beach, too. I really ought to send you a picture of that sometime. Then it was back to work — summer school for her and 47 hats for me. It’s really cool, though, because we’re both enjoying the opportunities to contribute at work. “We gave at the office” has a special meaning for us. In some ways, it’s one of the ways we share the love we have for each other with the folks who live around us — in our work, our neighborhood, our church, our island.

Last Sunday our associate pastor, Fr. Al, gave a homily on LOVE, and he referenced the Greeks words for love. The “bottom-of-the-scale” love is Mania. This is the obsessive/possessive sort of love that is actually abusive because it begins and ends in the Self. It is a malignant love and contradictory to the Love of God. This is the love that gives rise to infatuation, fantasy, and sometimes cruelty. It is related to narcissistic love.

There is XENIA, which is hospitality, but hospitality that is not ostentatious but rather gracious and heartfelt. This is usually on a one-to-one basis so that two people are involved, but it can also be for two or more persons.

Another Greek word for LOVE is STORGE. This is the like of natural, deep, instinctive love between parents and children. Again, it is usually on a one-to-one basis, but can also be for two or more persons. Those of us with large families know STORGE can be challenging at time, but also very powerful; in fact, it is powerful even if only two persons are involved.

A third word in Greek for LOVE is PHILIA. This is a pretty familiar root-word and we see it in other words like “audiophile”, Philadelphia, and Theophilus. It is “brotherly/sisterly love, and is usually associated with dignity and respect of and for others. In this also, the minimum number of persons involved is two

There is also EROS. This is the LOVE that seems to capture most of the attention these days. It is the erotic [sic], passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. Physical and intimate, this LOVE is rooted in the deepest and most basic part of humanity. It is the form of LOVE that works best, in fact exclusively best, with only two persons.

Finally there is AGAPE. Agape is the LOVE that transcends all other forms. In the New Testament, this is the verb used to characterize the LOVE that God has. We’ve all heard of AGAPE love, in fact I’ve mentioned it several times in these Aloha Friday Cards. Here, however, is something new and different I learned from Father Al:

Agape LOVE is a love that can only exist for three or more persons. It is a love that grows out of community, not self. God is LOVE and God is Three Persons. When a couple shares agape LOVE, it usually includes him, her, and God; that’s five persons. Agape love with a child is Mom, Dad, and Baby. Or Mom, Baby, and God. Agape love is not self-based and as so is not self-serving. In modern Greek, this is the verb used for romantic love, the kind of love that is blind. Agape love carries with it no preconceptions, no prejudices; it is that kind of love that is usually called “unconditional.” Some folks think that only God can love unconditionally. I do not. My wife and kids prove it. They still love me despite the times I have not have always loved them as well as I could.

You know people like that, don’t you? People who love you no matter how much they know about you? How about people that YOU love regardless of how many time they have hurt, disappointed, or ignored you? See? You know about agape love, too. Keep God in the equation, and no matter what, you’ll always have enough love to actualize that agape reality. All the other forms of LOVE are real, but only agape love is really, really real. It is superordinate LOVE.

You’re a big part of that three-or-more for me! God bless you!!

LOVE,

chick

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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