Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007

St. Cecilia

St. Cecilia is one of the most famous and most venerated of Roman martyrs. Her martyrdom probably occurred during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus, about the year 230. Cecilia led a life of prayer and meditation and had vowed lifelong virginity, but a youth by the name of Valerian, relying upon the approval of her parents, hoped to marry her. When the wedding night arrived, she confided to Valerian that she had dedicated herself to God. Valerian was later baptized and he then sought the conversion of his brother Tiburtius. When Almachius, the prefect, heard of the conversions, he ordered their arrest and execution.

At dawn, Cecilia roused the two brothers to struggle heroically for Christ, as the glow of morning disappeared, Cecilia called: "Arise, soldiers of Christ, throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Cecilia pursued her victory as the soldiers willingly listened, "We believe that Christ is the true Son of God, who has chosen such a servant." Led before the prefect, she professed her faith in Christ, "We profess His holy Name and we will not deny Him."

In order to avoid further show, the prefect commanded her to be suffocated in the baths. She remained unharmed and prayed, "I thank You, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, that through Your Son the fire was extinguished at my side." Beheading was next in order. The executioner made three attempts (the law prohibited more) and let her lie in her blood. She lived for three days, encouraging the poor and dedicating her home into a church.

Santa Ceclilia in Trastevere, Rome, November 4, 2006

St. Agnes

Agnes had made a promise to God never to stain her purity. Since she was very beautiful, many young men wished to marry Agnes, but she would always say, "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse." Procop, the Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He had tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!"

In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. Saint Agnes was twelve years old when she was led to the altar of Minerva at Rome and commanded to obey the persecuting laws of Diocletian by offering incense. In the midst of the idolatrous rites she raised her hands to Christ and made the sign of the life-giving cross. She did not shrink when she was bound hand and foot, though the manacles slipped from her young hands, and the heathens who stood around were moved to tears. When the judge saw that pain had no terrors for her, he inflicted a sentence comporting an insult worse than death: she was condemned to be taken to a house of infamy and her clothes stripped off. “I have an Angel with me,” she said, “and he will guard me. Christ, whom you do not know, surrounds me like a wall which cannot be forced.”

And so it occurred: her hair grew miraculously to such a length that she was entirely covered by it. The place to which she was taken was illuminated by a brilliant, inexplicable light; and there she knelt down to pray. At that site a Church has been built in honor of this young maiden’s victory over impurity. At length the sentence of death by the sword was passed upon her by a subordinate judge. For a moment she stood erect in prayer, then bowed her neck to the sword, rejoicing that the time of her liberation had arrived.

Sant'Agnese in Agone, Rome, November 7, 2006

Across the Tiber

Rome -- November 7, 2006

John Paul the Great

September 29, 2004

November 8, 2006

Crypt of St. Peter's Basilica -- November 8, 2006

Pompeii -- November 9, 2006
Firenze -- September 23, 2004

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced

Message for Lent 2007
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros.

God’s love: agape and eros

The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved.

The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that He does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature then, who is in need of God in everything.

But God’s love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom He has chosen as His own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3:1-3). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God’s relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16:1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very heart: the Almighty awaits the “yes” of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride.

Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God’s love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3:1-7). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God Himself, and became the first of “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb 2:15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man’s “no” was the decisive impulse that moved Him to manifest His love in all of its redeeming strength.

The Cross reveals the fullness of God’s love

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956).

On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” (De divinis nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?

“Him whom they have pierced”

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as “Lord and God” when he put his hand into the wound of His side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love.

One could rightly say that the revelation of God’s eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of His agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him.

Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ “draws me to Himself” in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.

Blood and water

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow “blood and water” (Jn 19:34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3,14ff).

Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving” (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed.

Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people.

May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ.

I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you, a special Apostolic Blessing.


Ash Wednesday 2007

General Audience
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Dear brothers and sisters:

Ash Wednesday, which we celebrate today, is, for us Christians, a special day characterized by an intense spirit of meditation and reflection. Indeed, we undertake the path of Lent, which consists of listening to the Word of God, of prayer and of penitence. In these 40 days, the liturgy will help us review the salient phases of the mystery of salvation.

As we know, man was created to be God's friend. But the sin of our first fathers broke this relationship of trust and love, and consequently, made mankind incapable of realizing its original vocation. But thanks to the redeeming sacrifice of Christ, we have been rescued from the power of evil: Christ, in fact, writes the Apostle John, became a sacrificial victim for our sins. And St. Peter adds, He died once and for always for our sins. Dead to sin because of Christ, the baptized person too is born to a new life, and is re-established freely in his dignity as a child of God. That is why in the primitive Christian community, Baptism was considered like 'the first resurrection."

At the very beginning, then, Lent was a time for immediate preparation for Baptism which would be administered solemnly at the Easter vigil. All of Lent was a way towards this great encounter with Christ, this immersion in Christ, this renewal of life. We are already baptized, but baptism is often not very effective in our daily life. That is why even for us, Lent is a renewed “catechumenate” during which we walk once again towards our Baptism, to rediscover it and to re-live it profoundly, so that we may become anew truly Christian.

Lent is an occasion to become Christians all over, through a constant process of interior change and a progress in our knowledge and love of Christ. Conversion is never once and for always - it is a process, an interior path during all our life. This itinerary of evangelical conversion certainly cannot be limited to a particular time of year: it is a path for everyday, which should embrace the entire arc of our existence, every day of our life.

In this view, for every Christian and for all the church communities, Lent is the spiritual station propitious for training ourselves to search for God with greater tenacity, opening our hearts to Christ.

St. Augustine once said that our life is a singular exercise of the desire to draw closer to God, of becoming capable of allowing God to come into our being. "The entire life of the fervent Christian," he said, "is a holy desire." If that is so, then during Lent we are stimulated all the more to "tear out from our desires the roots of vanity" in order to educate the heart to desire God, which means to love Him. "God," St. Augustine tells us, "this syllable is all that we desire." Let us hope that truly we will begin to desire God, and thus, to desire true life, love itself and truth.

Never was an exhortation by Jesus, as reported by Mark, more resonant than today: "Convert yourselves and believe the Gospel." A sincere desire for God makes us reject evil and do good. This conversion of the heart is above all a free gift of God, who created us for Him, and through Jesus Christ, redeemed us: our true happiness consists of staying with Him.

For this reason, He himself anticipates our desire with His grace and accompanies us in our efforts at conversion. What is it really to convert oneself? It means to look for God, to go with God, to follow meekly the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Conversion is not an effort for self-realization, because the human being is not the architect of his own destiny. It isn't us who created ourselves. Therefore self-realization is a contradiction and even too little for us. We have a higher destiny. We can say that conversion consists precisely in not considering ourselves “self-creators” and thereby discover the truth, because we are not our own authors.

Conversion consists of accepting freely and with love that we depend on God for everything, God who is our true Creator. This not dependence but freedom. Therefore conversion does not mean to work towards our own personal success - which is a fleeting thing - but rather, abandoning every human security to place ourselves simply and truthfully behind the Lord, so that for each of us, Jesus may become, as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta liked to say, "my all in all."

Whoever allows himself to be conquered by Him does not fear losing his own life, because on the Cross, He loved us and gave Himself for us. And it is precisely in losing our life for love that we find it again.

I wanted to underscore the immense love that God has for us n my message for Lent which was published a few days ago, so that Christians in every community may pause spiritually, with Mary and John the beloved disciple, next to Him who on the Cross consummated for humanity the sacrifice of His life. Yes, brothers and sisters, the Cross is the definitive revelation of love and divine mercy, even for us, men and women of these our times, too often distracted by earthly and momentary concerns and interests.

God is love, and His love is the secret of our happiness. But to enter this mystery of love, there is no other way but to lose ourselves, to give ourselves to the way of the Cross. "Whoever wants to follow me," the Lord said, "must renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me."

That is why the Lenten liturgy, while it invites us to reflect and pray, also urges us to appreciate penitence and sacrifice better, to reject sin and evil, and to conquer selfishness and indifference. Prayer, fasting and penitence, works of charity towards our brothers, thus become spiritual paths to follow in order to return to God, in response to the repeated calls to conversion that are found even in today's liturgy.

Dear brothers and sisters, may the period of Lent, which we undertake today with the austerely significant rite of the imposition of ashes, be for all a renewed experience of the merciful love of Christ who shed His blood on the Cross for us. Let us place ourselves obediently in His school, to learn to pass on, in our turn, His love to our neighbors, especially to those who suffer and are in difficulty. This is the mission of every disciple of Christ. But to fulfill it, it is necessary to stay attentive to His Word and to nourish ourselves assiduously on His Body and Blood.

May the Lenten itinerary, which in the ancient Church was an itinerary towards Christian initiation, towards Baptism and the Eucharist, be for us a “Eucharistic” time in which to participate with greater fervor at the sacrifice of the Eucharist.

May the Virgin Mary, who after sharing the Passion of her divine Son, experienced the glory of His resurrection, accompany us this Lent towards the mystery of Easter, supreme revelation of the love of God.

I wish everyone a good Lenten season!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Keep on Loving

What is "love" and where does it come from? Ultimately, love comes from God, who is Love, as do all things come from Him. But more immediately, for the individual person, the question of "where" is illuminated by the question of "what." What is love? In its purest and truest and fullest, love is a gift, a gift of self, and it is something which is given unconditionally, without concern for whether the other "deserves" it, or what we may or may not receive in return, although it is a joy when it is reciprocated. So, in recognizing that it is something selflessly given, not merely something experienced, we can also see that the immediate cause of love in us is our decision to give it. It is not something that overcomes us or is imposed upon us, or something that "just happens." That is, in the individual sense, love comes from our free choice of the will. And in choosing to love, in choosing to give of oneself, we ultimately are choosing to accept God, who is, after all, Love itself.

A “Discovery” of Love
"Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34)
Message for World Youth Day 2007
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

My dear young friends,

On the occasion of the 22nd World Youth Day that will be celebrated in the dioceses on Palm Sunday, I would like to propose for your meditation the words of Jesus: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34).

Is it possible to love?

Everybody feels the longing to love and to be loved. Yet, how difficult it is to love, and how many mistakes and failures have to be reckoned with in love! There are those who even come to doubt that love is possible. But if emotional delusions or lack of affection can cause us to think that love is utopian, an impossible dream, should we then become resigned? No! Love is possible, and the purpose of my message is to help reawaken in each one of you -- you who are the future and hope of humanity -- trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another. Let us now go on a journey together in three stages, as we embark on a "discovery" of love.

God, the source of love

The first stage concerns the source of true love. There is only one source, and that is God. Saint John makes this clear when he declares that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8,16). He was not simply saying that God loves us, but that the very being of God is love. Here we find ourselves before the most dazzling revelation of the source of love, the mystery of the Trinity: in God, one and triune, there is an everlasting exchange of love between the persons of the Father and the Son, and this love is not an energy or a sentiment, but it is a person; it is the Holy Spirit.

The Cross of Christ fully reveals the love of God

How is God-Love revealed to us? We have now reached the second stage of our journey. Even though the signs of divine love are already clearly present in creation, the full revelation of the intimate mystery of God came to us through the Incarnation when God himself became man. In Christ, true God and true Man, we have come to know love in all its magnitude. In fact, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, "the real novelty of the New Testament lies not so much in new ideas as in the figure of Christ himself, who gives flesh and blood to those concepts -- an unprecedented realism" (n. 12).

The manifestation of divine love is total and perfect in the Cross where, we are told by Saint Paul, "God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us" (Rm 5:8). Therefore, each one of us can truly say: "Christ loved me and gave himself up for me" (cf Eph 5:2). Redeemed by his blood, no human life is useless or of little value, because each of us is loved personally by Him with a passionate and faithful love, a love without limits. The Cross -- for the world a folly, for many believers a scandal -- is in fact the "wisdom of God" for those who allow themselves to be touched right to the innermost depths of their being, "for God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength" (1 Cor 1:25). Moreover, the Crucifix, which after the Resurrection would carry forever the marks of his passion, exposes the "distortions" and lies about God that underlie violence, vengeance and exclusion. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sins of the world and eradicates hatred from the heart of humankind. This is the true "revolution" that He brings about: love.

Loving our neighbor as Christ loves us

Now we have arrived at the third stage of our reflection. Christ cried out from the Cross: "I am thirsty" (Jn 19:28). This shows us his burning thirst to love and to be loved by each one of us. It is only by coming to perceive the depth and intensity of such a mystery that we can realize the need and urgency to love him as He has loved us. This also entails the commitment to even give our lives, if necessary, for our brothers and sisters sustained by love for Him. God had already said in the Old Testament: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18), but the innovation introduced by Christ is the fact that to love as he loves us means loving everyone without distinction, even our enemies, "to the end" (cf Jn 13:1).

Witnesses to the love of Christ

I would like to linger for a moment on three areas of daily life where you, my dear young friends, are particularly called to demonstrate the love of God. The first area is the Church, our spiritual family, made up of all the disciples of Christ. Mindful of his words: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13:35), you should stimulate, with your enthusiasm and charity, the activities of the parishes, the communities, the ecclesial movements and the youth groups to which you belong. Be attentive in your concern for the welfare of others, faithful to the commitments you have made. Do not hesitate to joyfully abstain from some of your entertainments; cheerfully accept the necessary sacrifices; testify to your faithful love for Jesus by proclaiming his Gospel, especially among young people of your age.

Preparing for the future

The second area, where you are called to express your love and grow in it, is your preparation for the future that awaits you. If you are engaged to be married, God has a project of love for your future as a couple and as a family. Therefore, it is essential that you discover it with the help of the Church, free from the common prejudice that says that Christianity with its commandments and prohibitions places obstacles to the joy of love and impedes you from fully enjoying the happiness that a man and woman seek in their reciprocal love. The love of a man and woman is at the origin of the human family and the couple formed by a man and a woman has its foundation in God's original plan (cf Gen 2:18-25).

Learning to love each other as a couple is a wonderful journey, yet it requires a demanding "apprenticeship". The period of engagement, very necessary in order to form a couple, is a time of expectation and preparation that needs to be lived in purity of gesture and words. It allows you to mature in love, in concern and in attention for each other; it helps you to practice self-control and to develop your respect for each other. These are the characteristics of true love that does not place emphasis on seeking its own satisfaction or its own welfare. In your prayer together, ask the Lord to watch over and increase your love and to purify it of all selfishness. Do not hesitate to respond generously to the Lord's call, for Christian matrimony is truly and wholly a vocation in the Church. Likewise, dear young men and women, be ready to say "yes" if God should call you to follow the path of ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life. Your example will be one of encouragement for many of your peers who are seeking true happiness.

Growing in love each day

The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. Dear young friends, cultivate your talents, not only to obtain a social position, but also to help others to "grow". Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more "competitive" and "productive", but to be "witnesses of charity". In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world. May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the "civilization of love". The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!

"Dare to love" by following the example of the saints

My dear young friends, I want to invite you to "dare to love". Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who vanquished hatred and death forever through love (cf Rev 5:13).

Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations. This is shown to us in the lives of the saints. They are true friends of God who channel and reflect this very first love. Try to know them better, entrust yourselves to their intercession, and strive to live as they did. I shall just mention Mother Teresa. In order to respond instantly to the cry of Jesus, "I thirst", a cry that had touched her deeply, she began to take in the people who were dying on the streets of Calcutta in India. From that time onward, the only desire of her life was to quench the thirst of love felt by Jesus, not with words, but with concrete action by recognizing his disfigured countenance thirsting for love in the faces of the poorest of the poor. Blessed Teresa put the teachings of the Lord into practice: "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). The message of this humble witness of divine love has spread around the whole world.

The secret of love

Each one of us, my dear friends, has been given the possibility of reaching this same level of love, but only by having recourse to the indispensable support of divine Grace. Only the Lord's help will allow us to keep away from resignation when faced with the enormity of the task to be undertaken. It instills in us the courage to accomplish that which is humanly inconceivable. Contact with the Lord in prayer grounds us in humility and reminds us that we are "unworthy servants" (cf Lk 17:10). Above all, the Eucharist is the great school of love. When we participate regularly and with devotion in Holy Mass, when we spend a sustained time of adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, it is easier to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of his love that goes beyond all knowledge (cf Eph 3:17-18). By sharing the Eucharistic Bread with our brothers and sisters of the Church community, we feel compelled, like Our Lady with Elizabeth, to render "in haste" the love of Christ into generous service towards our brothers and sisters.

Towards the encounter in Sydney

On this subject, the recommendation of the apostle John is illuminating: "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth" (1 Jn 3:18-19). Dear young people, it is in this spirit that I invite you to experience the next World Youth Day together with your bishops in your respective dioceses. This will be an important stage on the way to the meeting in Sydney where the theme will be: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8).

May Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, help you to let that cry ring out everywhere, the cry that has changed the world: "God is love!" I am together with you all in prayer and extend to you my heartfelt blessing.

From the Vatican, 27 January 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Now That's Romance!

Truly, a love that is every girl's dream --

[Scene: Hot Air Balloon. Calculon and Coilette fly over the countryside.]
Calculon: I have something for you.
[He hands her a remote control.]
Coilette: A remote control? You got me a TV?
Calculon: No, my dearest, it's the remote control to my heart. It symbolizes the power you have to sway my emotions.
Coilette: Will it work on my TV?
Calculon: We don't need TVs, we have each other! Coilette, if I weren't able to spend my life with you I would leap from this very balloon.
Coilette: Come on with that. . . . Really?
Calculon: Yes! We were meant to be.
Coilette: So . . . you really and truly love me?
Calculon: So much so that I'm prepared to give up show business itself to be with you.
[Coilette gasps.]
Coilette: But, you always said you'd rather burn down a convent than give up show business.
Calculon: I always said many things. But now all I want is a peaceful life and a quiet villa overlooking a vineyard ... with you.
[Coilette starts to cry.]
Coilette: Would we have donkeys?
Calculon: All you could eat!

-- "Bend Her," Futurama, Season 5

100 Possible Answers to the Questions (part the fourth)

77. “The Song of Songs in the Old Testament shows the way in which love ‘becomes concern and care for the other.’ Love’s growth advances as it becomes ever more definitive in the sense of exclusivity (this person alone) and is directed to the eternal (it is ‘forever’). Such love is ecstasy, not as a moment of intoxication but as a continuing journey, ‘an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self’ and toward the other, and finally toward God.” -- Richard John Neuhaus
78. “The will of God is not an alien will, God’s will is not a heteronymous imposition that constricts the self, but is an invitation to the fulfillment of the self by living a life of love in response to the gift of love. Thus is eros purified and fulfilled.” -- Richard John Neuhaus
79. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breath and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight / For the ends of Being and ideal Grace." -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
80. "Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile." -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
81. “Love does not just sit there, like a stone; it had to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” Ursula LeGuin
82. “[Consider] the love of God. This love is unconditional; this love is constant; this love is faithful; this love consistently wills the good of the other. This love is not given only to those who are ‘appealing’ and who come in the right packages. It is offered freely and without calculating any sort of return.” -- Bridget Burke Ravizza
83. “The market mentality has permeated even our understanding of relationships, so that we tend to think of ourselves and others as products rather than as persons. Love, then, becomes a form of ‘salesmanship.’ It is simply a matter of selling ourselves. We attempt to make ourselves as attractive as possible so that others might ‘invest’ in us. . . . More and more we are taught that we must live up to particular cultural expectations in order to earn the ‘love’ of another and be worthy of investment. . . And yet the Christian tradition provides an alternative vision. As Nouwen powerfully states, ‘everything that Jesus has done, said, and under­gone is meant to show us that the love that we most long for is given to us by God not because we deserved it, but because God is a God of love.’ This is the message that we need to hear: God profoundly loves us, just as we are! Our task is to trust in that unmerited love.” -- Bridget Burke Ravizza
84. “My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, ‘Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!’” -- Solomon, Song of Songs
85. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” – St. Paul
86. “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” – St. John
87. “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – St. John
88. "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." – Jesus of Nazareth
89. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” – Jesus of Nazareth
90. "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Children's Thoughts on Love

91. "I think you're supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn't supposed to be so painful." ... Manuel, age 8
92. "Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too."...Greg, age 8
93. "No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell...that's why perfume and deodorant is so popular."...Mae, age 9
94. "One way is to take the girl out to eat. Make sure it's something she likes to eat. French fries usually works for me."... Bart, age 9
95. "Don't do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain't the same thing as love." ... Alonzo, age 9 "
96. “When a person gets kissed for the first time, they fall down and they don't get up for at least an hour." ... Wendy, age 8
97. "If you want to be loved by somebody who isn't already in your family, it doesn't hurt to be beautiful."...Anita, age 8
98. "I look at kissing like this: Kissing is fine if you like it, but it's a free country and nobody should be forced to do it."...Michael, age 8
99. "Don't say you love somebody and then change your mind ... Love isn't like picking what movie you want to watch." ... Natalie, age 9
100. "I'm not rushing into being in love. I'm finding fourth grade hard enough." ...Regina, age 10

Valentine's Day in the 31st Century

Fry: Valentine's Day's coming? Oh, crap! I forgot to get a girlfriend again.
* * *
Zoidberg: I'd pay anything to end my miserable loneliness. If only I weren't so desperately poor.
Bender: Wait. You mean people will pay good money for romance? Hmm. * * *
* * *
[Scene: Planet Express Corridor. Bender hammers a sign on a door that has "Bender's Computer Dating Service. Discreet And Discrete" written on it.]
Bender: Ah, computer dating. It's like pimping but you rarely have to use the phrase "upside your head."
Leela: Bender, this is stupid. Why would anyone come to you for romantic help?
Bender: Hey! Don't make me go upside your head!
* * *
[Scene: Planet Express: Lounge. Bender drinks from a bottle. Leela sits down and plays with his "Dating Consultant" nameplate nonchalantly.]
Leela: So, how's business?
[Bender opens his chest cabinet, revealing a huge pile of money. He pulls out a $500 note.]
Bender: Are you familiar with my friend Al Gore? I'm tellin' you, losers get really desperate around Valentine's Day.
Leela: Yeah, it's pathetic alright! [She whistles. Bender hums.] How much?
Bender: 500 bucks.
Leela: Done.
* * *
[Scene: Elzar's Fine Cuisine. Valentine's Day]
Leela: (whispering) Bender! Did you just round up our dates at the bus station?
Bender: Of course not.
Sal the Bus Driver: (shouting) Anybodys else for Nutley?
[Bender's customers get up and head for the door. Zapp's date also leaves.]
* * *
[The next day. Enter Bender, counting his profits.]
Bender: Yep, everything worked out great thanks to good old Bender.
Leela: Come on! It's not like you intentionally set us up with bad dates so we'd spend Valentine's Day together.
Bender: Didn't I, Leela? Didn't I?
[He winks and a heart wipe closes the scene but opens up again.]
Leela: No! You didn't! You just corralled a bunch of stiffs at the bus station and pocketed our money!
Bender: True. But in the end, isn't that what Valentine's Day is really all about?
Leela: Yeah.
Fry: I guess so.

-- "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," Futurama, Season 2

This Concept of "Wuv" Confuses and Infuriates Us!

Guard: Exalted leaders, the Earth messengers have arrived bearing a peace offering from their weak and fearful government.
Lrrr: Oh, very well. This is a Joey-heavy episode anyway.
[He turns the TV off. Enter Leela, Fry and Bender with the barrels of candy hearts.]
Lrrr: I am Lrrr of the planet Omicron Persei 8.
[A picture slips on the wall. He puts it back. Leela reads from a piece of paper.]
Leela: (reading) Esteemed potentates of Omicron Persei 8, please accept these 20 billion candy hearts as proof that Earth loves you this much!
[She holds her arms out wide. Lrrr and Nd-Nd taste the candy hearts and immediately spit them out.]
Lrrr: These candies are chalky and unpleasant!
Nd-Nd: And what is this emotion you humans call "wuv"?
Lrrr: Surely it says "love"?
Nd-Nd: No, "wuv". With an Earth "W". Behold!
Lrrr: (shouting) This concept of "wuv" confuses and infuriates us!

-- "Love and Rocket," Futurama Season 4

100 Possible Answers to the Questions (part III)

51. "Love me without fear / Trust me without questioning / Need me without demanding / Want me without restrictions / Accept me without change / Desire me without inhibitions." -- Dick Sutphen
52. “Love feels no burden, regards not labors, strives toward more than it attains, argues not of impossibility, since it believes that it may and can do all things. Therefore it avails for all things, and fulfils and accomplishes much where one not a lover falls and lies helpless.” -- Thomas a Kempis
53. "The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller
54. "Love means the body, the soul, the life, the entire being. We feel love as we feel the warmth of our blood, we breathe love as we breathe air, we hold it in ourselves as we hold our thoughts. Nothing more exists for us." -- Guy De Maupassant
55. "I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again. My life seems to stop there, I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving. I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion... I have shudder'd at it... I shudder no more. I could be martyr'd for my religion: Love is my religion. I could die for that. I could die for you. My creed is love, and you are its only tenet. You have ravish'd me away by a power I cannot resist." -- John Keats
56. "Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one." -- John Keats
57. “What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories? I like not only to be loved, but to be told that I am loved." ~George Elliot
58. "Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it...It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more." - Erica Jong
59. "Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
60. "Love has no awareness of merit or demerit; it has no scale... Love loves; this is its nature." - Howard Thurman
61. “Even though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear our prayer - To face life I must live altogether with you or never see you - Yes, I am resolved to be a wanderer abroad until I can fly to your arms and say that I have found my true home, and enfolded in your arms can let my soul be wafted to the realm of blessed spirits - alas, unhappily it must be so - You will become composed, the more so as you know that I am faithful to you; No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be separated from her who is so dear. . . . Your love has made me the happiest and the unhappiest of mortals . . . Be calm; for only by calm consideration of our lives can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - Today - yesterday - what tearful longing for you - for you - you - my life - my all - all good wishes to you. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your lover. Ever yours, ever mine, ever ours.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
62. "Loves makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place." - Zora Neale Hurston
63. "To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven." - Karen Sunde
64. "Where love is, no room is too small." - Talmud
65. "Love is not blind -- it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less." -- Rabbi J. Gordon
66. "The reduction of the universe to a single being, the expansion of a single being even to God, this is love." ~Victor Hugo
67. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” ~Victor Hugo
68. “Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.” ~Leo Buscaglia
69. "Perfect love is rare indeed - for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain." ~Leo Buscaglia
70. "Love is the enchanted dawn of every heart." --Alphonse Marie de la Martine
71. "Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." - Peter Ustinov
72. "Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." -- Erich Fromm
73. "Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love." -- Erich Fromm
74. "What though the radiance which was once so bright / Be now for ever taken from my sight, / Though nothing can bring back the hour / Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; / We will grieve not, rather find / Strength in what remains behind; / In the primal sympathy / Which having been must ever be; / In the soothing thoughts that spring / Out of human suffering; / In the faith that looks through death, / In years that bring the philosophic mind." – William Wordsworth
75. “Every love is a giving birth, a conception that takes lover and beloved beyond themselves into an undiscovered country, a procreation. Love is always emigrant. . . . Love has no safe harbors, only interminable oceans. It must dare disturb the universe, and it will search out the expressions it needs for its work.” -- David K. O’Connor
76. “The art of love has a pudency (modesty), and will not be exposed. Nietzsche was right to say Eros has been poisoned into degeneracy, but he misidentified the poisoners. It is the intellectuals, not the Christians, who have drugged Eros with a contraceptive of the mind.” -- David K. O’Connor

St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr, c. A.D. 268-270

The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. The church in which he is buried existed already in the fourth century and was the first sanctuary Roman pilgrims visited upon entering the Eternal City.

One text states that Valentine (or Valentinus) was a Roman priest who was martyred during the persecution of Claudius the Goth (Claudius II). In addition to his other edicts against helping Christians, Claudius had also issued a decree forbidding marriage. In order to increase troops for his army, he forbade young men to marry, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men.

Valentine, along with St. Marius, aided the martyrs and other Christians during this Claudian persecution. He defied the decree forbidding marriage and urged young lovers to come to him in secret so that he could join them in the sacrament of matrimony. Eventually he was discovered by the Emperor, who promptly had Valentine arrested and brought before him. Because he was so impressed with the young priest, Claudius attempted to convert him to Roman paganism rather than execute him immediately. However, Valentine held steadfast and in turn attempted to convert Claudius to Christianity, at which point the Emperor condemned him to death. Valentine was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.

While in prison, Valentine was tended by the jailer, Asterius, and his blind daughter. Asterius' daughter was very kind to Valentine and brought him food and messages. They developed a friendship and toward the end of his imprisonment Valentine was able to convert both father and daughter to Christianity. Legend has it that he also miraculously restored the sight of the jailer's daughter.

The night before his execution, the priest wrote a farewell message to the girl and signed it affectionately "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lives on even to today. He was executed on February 14th, around A.D. 268-70 in Rome. The Martyrology says, "At Rome, on the Flaminian Way, the heavenly birthday of the blessed martyr Valentine, a priest. After performing many miraculous cures and giving much wise counsel he was beaten and beheaded under Claudius Caesar."

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses. The valentine has become the universal symbol of friendship and affection shared each anniversary of the priest's execution -- St. Valentine's Day.

100 Possible Answers to the Questions (part deux)

26. “Falling in love is the first, and sadly for some couples the only, season of love. Often couples confuse infatuation with love. A husband might see his wife as he would like her to be — a warm, caring person who always keeps his needs foremost in her mind. Who she truly is — a woman who can be angry and upset with him at times — is irrelevant.” -- Gary J. Oliver
27. “Many couples miss the rollercoaster highs and lows of early romantic love. But as their love deepens, they will enjoy the beauty of phileo — the bond of friendship. Friendship love combines the intensity of romance with the stability of knowing a spouse is committed to learning how to appreciate you for who you are rather than what he or she thinks you should be. In this second season of love, couples begin to understand that love is a deliberate choice — not merely a feeling.” -- Gary J. Oliver
28. “So often when we say ‘I love you’ we say it with a huge ‘I’ and a small ‘you.’” -- Antony, Russian Orthodox Archbishop of England
29. “Each day I love you more; today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.” -- Rosemonde GĂ©rard
30. “Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.” -- Robert Green Ingersoll
31. “Jump out the window if you are the object of passion. Flee it if you feel it…. Passion goes, boredom remains.” -- Gabrielle (“Coco”) Chanel
32. "Fear? What is there to fear in love? Love is the very reason we live. To fear love is to lose all sense of living, And if we cannot love, then why have we been put here? Fearing love is like being afraid of breathing. It's not something to be scared of. It's something so natural that no one can resist." - Tyler's speech from "A Heartbeat Away"
33. “Many people have the mistaken idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on 'being in love' forever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change — not realizing that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. . . . Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time." – C.S. Lewis
34. "True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked. " -- Erich Segal
35. "Infatuation is when you think he's as gorgeous as Robert Redford, as pure as Solzhenitsyn, as funny as Woody Allen, as athletic as Jimmy Connors and as smart as Albert Einstein. Love is when you realize that he's as gorgeous as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Solzhenitsyn, as athletic as Albert Einstein and nothing like Robert Redford in any category — but you'll take him anyway." -- Judith Voist
36. "It's not that I can't live without you, it's that I don't even want to try." - Source Unknown
37. "You will never know true happiness until you have truly loved, And you will never understand what pain really is until you have lost it." - Author Unknown
38. "To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten." – Anonymous
39. First Person -- “I have to love me first before I can go out and love others. Love has to be selfish. Isn’t that supposed to be the beginning of wisdom: ‘know thyself’? Doesn’t the Bible tell me I must love my neighbor as myself?”
Second Person -- “Poppycock! That’s not love. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re all smoke and mirrors. The way you toss it around, love becomes just another four-letter word. Love is giving—not satisfying one’s self. It’s reaching out to others, feeling for them, wanting to do for them—first. Then, as a resulting boon, favoring one’s self as a sidebar.” – unknown
40. “Love is an old-fashioned, contemporary-eternal virtue. All the variations, the man-made interpretations, watered-down or blown-up versions for sale on today’s market, are just fluff that the winds of eternity will blow away. Love reflects God, and God is not to be mocked.” -- Alma Roberts Giordan
41. "Love is friendship set on fire." - unknown
42. "It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death." - Thomas Mann
43. "A fool in love makes no sense to me. I only think you are a fool if you do not love." - anonymous quote
44. “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” -- Captain Corelli's Mandolin
45. "The mind determines what is possible. The heart surpasses it.'' - Pilar Colinta
46. "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery
47. "True love begins when nothing is looked for in return." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery
48. "Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting." --Mother Teresa
49. "Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence." --Vincent van Gogh
50. “Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.” -- Author Unknown

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

100 Possible Answers to the Questions (part one)

1. "The question of love is one that cannot be evaded. Whether or not you claim to be interested in it, from the moment you are alive you are bound to be concerned with love, because love is not just something that happens to you: It is a certain special way of being alive. Love is, in fact, an intensification of life, a completeness, a fullness, a wholeness of life." - Thomas Merton
2. "Love conquers all." ~Virgil
3. "One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is Love." --Sophocles
4. "Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the gods." ~Plato
5. "At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet." ~Plato
6. "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." --Aristotle
7. "Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul." --St. Augustine
8. "A life’s worth, in the end, isn’t measured in hours, or dollars. It’s measured by the amount of love exchanged along the way." - Douglas C. Means
9. "The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you love them." - Author Unknown
10. “Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” ~Jean Anouilh
11. "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." --Robert Heinlein
12. "True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart." --Honore de Balzac
13. "When traveling the path of life, and finding love along the way, everything looks new and different. Little do you know it is the same old landscape you used to see all of the time; Love has just given you new eyes." - Author Unknown
14. "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring. Who, being loved, is poor?" ~Oscar Wilde
15. "Attention is the most basic form of love; through it we bless and are blessed." - John Tarrant
16. “If you have the will to love, you already give proof that you love. What counts is the will to love.” -- St. Maximilian Kolbe
17. "If you would be loved, love and be lovable." - Benjamin Franklin
18. "You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly." - Sam Keen
19. "We don't love qualities, we love persons; sometimes by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities." - Jacques Maritain
20. "You don't love a woman because she's beautiful; she is beautiful because you love her." - anonymous quote
21. "A happy man marries the girl he loves; a happier man loves the girl he marries." - anonymous quote
22. "Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all." -- G.K. Chesterton
23. “When we are young, we think we know so much about it. Then as we get older, we realize just how little we actually know. Still, throughout life, everyone searches for some form of love.”-- Dianne Bergant
24. “We can genuinely love someone and be captivated by that person’s charm and wit, intelligence and sensitivity, unselfishness and caring—and soon we feel a responsibility to overhaul what we think should be changed. This can tear the love relationship apart.” -- Dianne Bergant
25. “Real love involves an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. That's when agape, or sacrificial love, begins to take root.” -- Gary J. Oliver

The Ultimate Question About Love

40. What is the most perfect and truest love?

Where's the Love?

29. How well do you have to know someone before you can sincerely say “I love you”? Is “love at first sight” possible?
30. Is there only “one, true love” for us, a soul mate, a Mr. or Miss Right? Should we have to “settle” for anything less than the best?
31. Is it possible to love an unsavory person? an ugly person? a boring person?
32. Is perfect love between two persons possible? Do two persons have the power and ability in themselves to create this perfect love, or is some outside assistance needed?
33. What is the cause of the loss of love? Is the cause of the loss of love something external to us; is it something beyond our control?
34. Do we stop loving the other person because of some attribute of that person? Do we stop loving them because they no longer “make us happy”?
35. Can we “make” the other person love us? If the other person does not love us or stops loving us, is that because there is something wrong with us? Will they love us again if only we change?
36. Is love possible in an arranged marriage? If so, how?
37. Is love possible in other involuntary relationships, such as parent-child and brother-sister? If so, how?
38. Can you love someone even though you do not like them? Can love co-exist with hate? with anger?
39. Does love mean “never having to say that you are sorry”?

Monday, February 12, 2007

What is the source or cause of love?

More and more questions --

16. Why do we love? How does love (or being “in love”) happen? What causes love? What is the source of love? Where does it come from?
17. Is the cause or source of love something that is external to us, or is it internal?
18. Is love something that is necessarily temporary, or is permanent love possible?
19. What does it mean to “fall in love”? Is love really something that we “fall” into? And is it something that we fall out of?
20. Is love ready-made? Is it something that just happens or just doesn’t happen?
21. Is love something beyond our control? Is love the result of an uncontrollable force of attraction or affinity?
22. Is love thrust upon us, like Cupid’s arrow? Are we compelled to love without regard for our reason or free will, or even against our will?
23. Does loving someone depend entirely upon the other person? Do we love them because they “make us happy”?
24. Which comes first – attraction and happiness, or love? Does happiness and/or attraction cause or otherwise lead to love, or does love lead to happiness and attraction?
25. What is the source of happiness? of attraction? of desire?
26. Is it still love if it is painful or annoying? if we are disappointed or unhappy?
27. Do we love because the other person fulfills us and completes us?
28. Do we love the other person because of some attribute of that person – because they are physically attractive or smart or funny or honest or a good provider or someone that shares our values?

St. Valentine's Day Meme

It looks as if I, Bender, have been tagged by Julie, our Happy Catholic --

What are your favorite top ten romantic movies?

Being that I'm a guy, and romantic movies are, by definition, chick-flicks, I don't have a bunch that come to mind, but I'll try (not in any particular order) --

-- Cinema Paradiso (not a romantic movie, but most definitely a love story)
-- Casablanca
-- Roman Holiday
-- Immortal Beloved
-- Fiddler on the Roof
-- Silas Marner (I saw it with Ben Kingsley once, but haven't found it on DVD)
-- All My Circuits, the Movie
-- It Came From Planet Earth (ooh, in 3-D)
-- Coilette: The Calculon Story

OK, I give up. Couldn't think of anything else. Even after going to to look at their list of 300 romance genre movies, and nothing jumped out at me.

What are your top five favorite romantic books (fiction or non-fiction) ?

Oh, it just gets better and better, doesn't it?

Look, I'm romantic OK? I'm very romantic. But I'm a guy! I don't much go in for romantic movies or books.

If money were no object, where (on earth) would you like to spend your Valentine's Day and how would you spend it? In other words, what is your idea of a perfect Valentine's Day date?

As long as I am with my sweetheart and honey, it really doesn't matter where, but she would probably like Florence.

The Never-Ending Question -- What is Love?

9. Is love something that is primarily centered on or concerned with the self, or with the other person?
10. Does love involve our bodies only, or our souls as well? Does love involve only a portion of our bodies or the totality?
11. Is love something that we experience physically, spiritually, or both?
12. Is love purely corporeal, temporal, and worldly, or is it transcendent as well?
13. Is there any relationship between love and friendship? Is the love of another greater than being their friend? Is love deeper than friendship?
14. Are there things that we would accept in a loved one that we would not accept in a friend? Are there things that we would accept in friend that we would not accept in a loved one?
15. Is love a moral good? If it is a good, should a love relationship with another always be pursued?

What is Love???

What is love? Oh, let me count the possibilities --

8. Is love –
-- a thought?
-- an emotion or feeling?
-- an attitude?
-- a psychological condition? a left-over remnant from infancy, when mommy and daddy protected you and provided for you?
-- an obsession? a form of insanity?
-- an electro-chemical reaction in the brain? raging hormones?
-- some other purely physical or biological condition?
-- instinct or a genetic condition?
-- a result of socialization?
-- fate or destiny?
-- a myth, a construct or abstraction that was invented to facilitate sex and the formation of associations to provide security for one another?
-- a myth, a lie that we can use to get what we want from the other?
-- a liking of the other?
-- an affection or sentiment for the other person?
-- an attraction to the other? physical attraction? intellectual attraction?
-- a want or desire to possess or consume the other?
-- a want or desire for companionship, to be with or in the presence of the other?
-- a want or desire for physical, spiritual, and/or sexual closeness and intimacy with the other?
-- a bond between persons? a unification of persons?
-- a want or desire to integrate, interpenetrate, and become one with the other?
-- a want or desire to utilize the other to make us happy?
-- a passion or craving or hunger or longing for the other?
-- an enjoyment of the other?
-- romance and dreaminess?
-- a feeling of pleasure or ecstasy or thrill?
-- something that is profound and intense?
-- something that leaves you breathless and weak in the knees
-- a feeling of security or contentment?
-- something that makes you happy or satisfied?
-- something that leaves you warm and fuzzy?
-- something that leaves you miserable and depressed?
-- an act of reason? a rational decision? a conscious choice or act of the will?
-- a concern or care for the other, without regard to what they can or cannot provide us?
-- a desire or will for the good of the other? for the happiness of the other?
-- a gift of self? a commitment to the other? a sacrifice for the other?
-- a subordination of self for the good and sake of the other?
-- a gift to the other without regard to whether the other deserves it or not?
-- a compassion and respect for the other as he or she really is, flaws and all?
-- an affirmation of the value of the other as a person?
-- something that we take from the other?
-- a duty or obligation?
-- a right that we may properly demand from the other?
-- an inter-personal, two-way, reciprocal relationship?
-- something that is given or experienced whether or not it is given to us in return?
-- eros, philia, agape, and/or amore?

What is this thing called “love”?

We say it all the time. We think it all the time. And yet, we spend our entire lifetimes trying to figure out what it is. And some of us never figure out what love is. Some of us are clueless as to what love really is, and we spend our lifetimes looking and looking for it, in constant misery and unhappiness. And so, some questions --

1. What is this thing called “love”?
2. What do we mean when we say “I love you,” or when we ask “Do you love me?”
3. Are there different kinds of love, or is there only one love which is exhibited/experienced in different ways or varying degrees?
4. Is the concept of love objective, or is it different for each person? Does the definition of love change depending upon the situation?
5. Is the religious and Biblical concept of love different, separate, and/or distinct from the “romantic” concept of love?
6. Is being “in love” different from love generally? Is there a difference between being “in love” and being “in” love?
7. Is being “in love” different from being “in like” with someone?

Where did I go??

Well, first I was busy doing other stuff. Then I had to plan for my trip to Rome.

Then I had to go to Rome, where I saw il Papa.

Then the holidays came up. Then I got tired of the fact that I was preparing stuff for my students, but being typical eighth graders --- NONE OF THEM BOTHERED TO READ WHAT I WAS PUTTING OUT!

Oh well. I forgive them. I'll post now and then if you insist Brother Bender.