We are such a get it done and move-on society. This week it seemed as if there were so many things happening – cruise ship literally gone viral, manhunt concluded, state of the mis-union, blade runner murder, meteor attacks and the Grammys. We had very little chance to focus on a couple of events that should have been given their due (I’m guilty) – Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Valentine’s Day – a day traditionally spent honoring the gift of love – the love between lovers needs a re-play. (Ash Wednesday and Lent – next week re-play)
I learned a few weeks ago that the Greeks have three distinct words for love. The first is ‘eros’ love which is the root of the word erotic. Pretty clear what kind of love that is, and probably the easiest form to find yourself in. The second is ‘philios’ love, and is the simple love that we as humans have for one another – like a friend has for a friend or siblings have for one another – the love you have for your best friend is philios. Then there is ‘agape’ love, and this is the love that God has for us – unconditional and immeasurable love – love without bounds – everlasting love. Blessed are those that they should find all three types of love in one single relationship, but it is possible. It happens over many years of willingly sacrificing one’s own wants and desires to those of your partner – learning to find joy and fulfillment in someone else’s happiness. My wife exemplifies this, it comes naturally to her and is the reason we are still married after 30 years.
In my observation this is how marriage is supposed to work. So, for those of you who may be considering marriage, don’t do it unless you are agreed to this depth of commitment. Be willing to live for the benefit of your other half. If you both make that commitment to each other, you’ll get what you need and want…see how that works out? And if you are married already and it seems a bit stressed at times, get back to this fundamental fix-it-all. It’s the same relationship that Christ has with His wife – the church. Christ lived solely for the purpose of serving and saving the church – you and me. We in turn, live to praise and glorify His name and that of the Father (see the well known passage from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians below)…Happy Valentine’s Day, again.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same wayhusbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.