By Fr Geoge Adimike
Whenever humans copy the text of love from the evil one, the plagiariser-in-chief, they distort love as a bodiless activity of angels or twist it as a soulless pleasure exercise, both of which lead to abuse of love. In his corruptive endeavour, the evil one destroys the unity of love, presenting agapé without eros, a spirit without a body among some pious Christians.
And among those outside the Church to whom God is distant, love is eros without agapé, a body without a spirit. Such a dia-bolic delinking of the two dimensions hurts the integrity of love, which is both divine and human, a gift and a given, thus practically sowing confusion in the hearts of many.
Following its composite structure, human love integrates the two such that agapé and eros are to love what hydrogen and oxygen are to water.
As teenagers, it was vogue in our circle to copy love letters from already prepared scripts, including the Scripture, especially Solomon’s love letter, Song of Songs. Many innocent people in love search for words to express their love. In their unoriginality, the superficiality of their love is exposed.
Such love proves to have many things to learn, many things to understand, and many things to endure in its growth to transfiguration. In no way, is this love comparable with our love for God, and love in the family, especially between children and parents, which does not need a coach.
Because it is seasoned by time, such love is not easily compared with what we felt as young people, searching for purpose and meaning.
In our experience, as both subjects and objects of love, we can delineate three objects. These three objects, namely God, family and friends, possess three degrees of intensity, three pulls of sentiment, three devotions and three stirrings in the heart.
Though these are not mutually exclusive, our devotion to them often brings conflict in us. We desire God and at the same time wanna love our ‘girlfriends’. I use ‘girlfriends’ or ‘boyfriends’ instructively to mean friends who hold intimate attraction to us within our cultural setting and not in the context of the occidental world.
The challenge remains to wean one’s love for others from the idolatry of the body. That’s the need to liberate one’s fantasy from fixating in possessing the other for sensual gratification in order to love them in the light of God, which sorts out inner conflicts.
Can someone love God and Amina/Segun at the same time? Unfortunately, some religious preachings fund the idea that to love God one has to be indifferent to or develop a cold love for Amaka or Arinze, neglecting that the fire of love in the heart burns for God and humans.
Notwithstanding, with a fierce pressure, the world lures us to ignore God and focus on what it offers, hence in the name of love, many young and not-so-young people abandon the substance of love for the quick-sand of imitation and fake provided by the evil one (the destroyer-in-chief).
Easily many succumb to the lures of the stirrings in the heart, which they often misunderstand. In search of love, they reinterpret lust and surrender to it. They copy their love letter from the enemy whose intents and purposes are destructive.
The plagiariser-in-chief, who specializes in distorting the originals, prevents the young from writing their love letter with the ink of grace in recognition of their identity as sons and daughters of God. They abandon God in search of love, forgetting that God is love, and they embrace the copy from the evil one, which is lust. In their confusion, they embrace lust for love and celebrate their rebellion from God, who is love, by parading a fake love letter from the evil one (the damaging director).
A copied love letter is often celebrated as love without the consciousness that it is from the enemy. He uses the human heart’s legitimate longings and stirrings to confuse the unsuspecting and shallow-rooted in his fake love letter. As such, many youths end up majoring in something minor, settling for less where more is possible.
They expect to reap dividends of wellness, flourishing and life after investing in nuisance. In that way, the evil one corrupts love from a liberating dynamism to an enslaving fleeting feeling, turning it from warranty of joy and grace to forfeiture of peace.
In reality, love letters have varied foundation, intention, context and meaning. Quite significantly, copies differ from the originals even if the words are similar because words come from world. Hence words used in the love letters have some peculiar meaning attached that another may not understand.
In other words, reflecting on and creating own love experience with God, self and others in order to have a personal narrative of love creates a tale or transcript of grace. Each love letter presupposes an experience of love, and one who depends on the plagiariser of love ends up with a superficial patchwork of experience.
The encounter with God, whose love never fails nor disappoints transforms the longings of our hearts into a life-giving experience of His love that warms and wards.
As beings with bodies and biographies, love overwhelms our imperfections, but pseudo-love underwhelms, complicates, exacerbates and exposes them. Love comforts one as a pilgrim through the pilgrimage of life, but pseudo-love sets one in an endless wandering without destination led by the unhealed ego and the id.
Love sowed yields a great dividend of fruits of virtues and blessings, transforming life from the mundane tourism of complaints to a pilgrimage of celebration. It is needless copying something one already has since His love is written in the depths of the human heart.
If we look deeper, we shall see; if we listen deeper, we shall hear Him speaking in the recesses of our hearts. This month of love, especially within the context of the celebration of the Feast of Saint Valentine, invites us to create our own experiences of love from our profound encounter with God who is love and as such learn to express it originally to others. It invites us to celebrate love as a Good News and not a ‘sindustry’ of lust.Fr George ADIMIKEfindfadachigozie@gmail.com