What is Love?

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Editor’s note: The following is a short piece composed by a great friend of this writer, Father William Jenkins. His beautiful message is precisely what the world needs to hear during the Christmas season. Please read on to discover what is love, and please share this post with your friends. –TN

During the 1968 award-winning musical Oliver!, the young lad playing the part of Oliver Twist sings with an air of wistfulness and sadness “Where is the love?” It is a classic question of human history and every human life as our fallen human nature struggles with the consequences of sin and the sense of loneliness and loss caused by estrangement from God. Perhaps the better question would be “what is love?” since before we can hope to find where love is we must first understand what love is.

Is love the fevered and obsessive infatuation of first romance, when a young man (still very much a boy) and a young lady (still very much a girl) “fall in love” with each other? Often the young who are smitten for this fool’s gold of fool’s love throw caution – and even common sense and common decency – to the wind as they allow their passions to blind them to everything else: the love of friends, the love of family, even the love of God. They sacrifice genuine love in the fires of passion on an altar made of fool’s gold. But true love does not destroy lovers; it elevates and edifies them.

Is mere zealotry for a “cause” a form of true love? Was Karl Marx moved by genuine love for the masses when he penned his philosophy and its program of socialistic tyranny to produce the communist workers’ paradise on Earth? Was Adolf Hitler moved by the love of an ideal when he proclaimed the ascendancy of his master race and pursued it by policies which brought the horrors of war, misery and death to millions of people? Was Joseph Stalin motivated by love to send tens of millions of innocent men, women and children to work themselves to death in the misery of Siberia and Kolyma? But, again, true love is not cruel and does not destroy; it elevates and edifies, for “everyone that loveth, is born of God and knoweth God.” (John 4:7)

By “love” here, Saint John does not mean the self-serving and self-centered destructive love of human passion, but the thoughtful, rational and self-sacrificing love which the Church calls the virtue of caritas – charity: “For God is charity.” (John 4:8) God’s answer to the question “what is love?” points the answer for the question “where is love?”: “For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16). Love, therefore, must be found where God Himself is – where God Himself places love: in the manger and on the cross.

The manger and the cross thus express the entire range of human joy and sorrow. The drama of human existence and the destiny of human life are summed up in the Divine Person laid in the humble wooden box of the manger and hung on the rough wooden gibbet of the cross. In Him and in Him alone can mankind find true love.

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7 thoughts on “What is Love?

  1. This was very moving. I think it explains how hatred in the guise of love has been foisted on us, not only by our ultra liberal political leaders, but by the ultra liberal false leaders of the false church. And we’ve not only accepted it, but we seem to be grateful for it– the murder of the innocents, gay ‘marriage’, adulterers admitted to the Sacraments, working countless hours for a barely living wage. The evils that are called good while the Good is called evil.

    You, Tom, wrote at the end of the first chapter of your book, that it isn’t an army of warriors that we need to win this war, but an army of 8 pound newborns. “Love, therefore, must be found where God Himself is – where God Himself places love: in the manger and on the cross.”

    1. How right you are. Thank you for speaking the truth. Everything Father Jenkins writes is very moving, and I’m blessed to have him as a friend.

      In one of my favorite books, Liberalism is a Sin, the author writes, “To effect a confusion of ideas is an old scheme of the devil.” Is this not precisely what has happened in our society? We confuse love for hate and good for evil, like you say. A new generation of truth-lovers is precisely what the doctor has ordered.

  2. I had forgotten to mention that we were treated to the full text of Fr’s treatise on “What is Love'” on the Feast of the Holy Family. After Mass a group of us go to dinner and most of the conversation consists discussing the Sermon and how we can use it in our daily lives . The, what we thought were innocent compromises we find ourselves either making or almost making while at work. We committed to each other and to God to follow our informed consciences. I’ve been called on the carpet once. When I explained to my director that choice I made was out of love and respect for not only the company but also for this particular customer, and informed by my Catholicism, he smiled, nodded and thanked me. He gave me different parameters to work within and asked me to “touch base” with him if a similar situation arises.

    I loved the analogy you use in your book about how we, like infants, kick and scream when God sends us trials to make us stronger. It suits this old man to a tee. Love, the manger and the Cross, is not true love without true humility.

    And this, I think, is the problem with liberalism. It isn’t humble at all. It wears the mask of humility. But when removed it reveals a horrible bear-toothed and spitting scowl. I see it on my own face sometimes. “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum. Sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima meam.”

  3. What an incredibly insightful man you are. Your humility is most edifying.

    You are blessed to be part of such a dinner group and extremely lucky to have such wonderful friends. Would that all men had courage like yours that enabled them to stand up to the world!

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, of course, in describing liberalism as false humility. The only cure is true humility inspired by a great love for God, which you so manifestly possess and profess. God bless you, good sir. And thank you for the feedback and kind words here.

    1. I agree! I do have wonderful friends, and it is edifying to know one isn’t alone and has the help of good Catholic people when one is surrounded on all sides by neo pagans who claim to hate walls but whose false philosophies always result in walls so high they can neither give nor receive– but only demand and steal from their turrets. Theirs make all men islands.

      And thank you for your kind words. I must tell you, though, that I’ve rarely been accused of humility– only of having the desire to be.

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