On Love

On Love

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Georgios Koios

This period of Great Lent through which we’re passing, and also the worrying social phenomena we see on a global scale, challenge and invite us as people to reflect on and weigh up why it is that almost the whole of mankind is in turmoil. Tension between ourselves and between nations, loathing and intolerance within states and between different people are part and parcel of daily life. The result is conflicts, sometimes of considerable proportions, with people as the victims. Even worse, these victims often belong to the most vulnerable groups who have no responsibility for or relation to the criminal behaviour of those at whose bidding the disasters were created.

What’s the cause of all the turmoil and confusion, which is worsening by the day? Supposedly we’ve made impressive progress in all fields of social, political, cultural, economic and scientific life and in every sphere of activity. Alas, all these achievements haven’t secured peace and calm, either on a personal or family level, or social and national level, or even in global terms. When taking a sober look at this state of affairs, almost everyone wonders what’s causing it.

If you consider it in good faith, it’s not hard to discern that the cause of all the desolation which is occurring is the lack of love.

And this is the strange thing here. In our daily life, we’re exuberant in our verbal expressions of love. Parents, especially mothers, say ‘my love’, to their children; as do husbands and wives. Lovers say it passionately. Friends address each other by it and at all official functions [in Greece], the address begins ‘Beloved’. So it’s in very wide, general use, to the extent that, logically, we should be a society of love. In practice, however, we can all see the contradiction. Love and its expression are no longer properly understood and each one of us expresses it in the way we personally take it to mean. Behind the love expressed there’s the ego, the self, which is sometimes revealed in a robust manner and at others more subtly and ‘politely’.

Let’s look at the way it’s expressed in the closest of relationships.

Between spouses: In the old days, how many vows of love were made in a marriage- and in today’s reality, a long time before it? Love without bounds. So intense that the couple can’t help but demonstrate it, to the extent that sometimes they act inappropriately in public. It might even bear fruit. It might come to marriage. Then, sooner or later, most couples begin to complain. Their characters are incompatible. Despite the fact that they’ve got children, they begin divorce proceedings. The vows, the passion, their relationship are fractured.

Is this love?

Parents and children: How can we even describe our relations with our children? Although the burden lies on the side of us parents, we experience this behaviour on both parts in our everyday lives. It’s a social phenomenon with dramatic consequences. In large part, our priority as parents isn’t the care of our children. Our work, our career, our relationships, our social obligations and our ‘respectability’ in general and our personal success are what we aim at, to the extent that the children are an obstacle to our advancement. The delinquent behaviour of our children- which is a warning sign that we should be turning our attention and interest towards them- bothers us all the more because it spoils our ‘good image’ among those around us; it affronts us. Instead of feeling sorry that our child is suffering from a lack of real love and is sending out danger signals through its behaviour, we’re more in love with our own image and the behaviour of our children ticks us off, if you’ll pardon the expression. We reel off the sacrifices we’ve made for them and complain that all we get in return is ingratitude.

Is this love?

Behaviour towards parents: Let’s be honest. By and large, we think of our parents, grandparents as a burden, though I’d like to think I’m wrong. The in-laws, particularly the mother- are a burden. The people who brought us into the world, who raised us with sacrifices similar to those we boast of to our own children, are a burden. All the poor parents do is pray for their children and grandchildren, and help where they can, their sole reward being a smile or a kind word. At some stage, this behaviour will come back to haunt us.

Is this love?

Source: pemptousia.com

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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.