It is impossible to cultivate the virtue of love on a non-fertile soil. In an attempt to create an enabling environment for love, certain bushes needed to be cleared with passion. There are bushes that may become obstacles to the fruitful development of already planted love.
Giving up is all about passion, a for dislike. Hence, we say that giving up is very necessary for love to come into play. In other words, if you cannot give up, you cannot love.
One thing interestingly significant about love is that it is all about freedom, and freedom leads to happiness. Anthony De Mello in his book “Call to love” stated that “in order to be genuinely happy, there is one and only one thing you need to do: get deprogrammed, get rid of those attachments.” For one to easily detach him or herself, one has to develop an attitude of disinterestedness towards those things. Immediately one is detached, freedom to love could be possibly exercised without hindrance. This is because, those attachments which becloud a person’s imagination have been discarded, such that the person can now see things as they really are. Besides, what is love, if not to innocently approach a thing or a person in its natural state; by bracketing every form of prejudices, presumption, superstition or suspicion against that person. That is a proper application of the phenomenological epoche of Edmund Hursell.
The crux of the matter remains that; to love properly, you need to give up your attachments. Attachments could be the external endowments that prevent you from seeing the real things in life. Attachment, could be material or spiritual. They could be principles built against self-esteem to age long acquired habits. Most often, our relationship with God are controlled and restricted by these attachments. They not only deny us the favour and forgiveness of God, but also present themselves as gods to us. Sometimes, we feel that we are in-charge of them, but in the real sense, we are not only caged by these attachments, but also live our daily lives to meet up with the demands of these attachments. The unstated assumption here is that whatever comes in between our attachments and us becomes an enemy and must be neglected. By implication, what we claim to love is not what we want to love in the real sense but what we are compelled to love by our so-called attachments. Indications therefore emerged that we do not have love since freedom, which is the essential quality of love is lacking. Far more importantly, we could be so used to our attachments that it becomes very difficult to make a dear-cut distinction between them and our real selves. Sometimes, we accept them as our habits or nature instead of working against them as vices.
If for instance I resolve to detach myself from everything that could prevent me from experiencing and expressing love in the real sense of the word, could it not be understood as a virtue? In fact, it is attachments that is our touch stone in our sterling contributions in the environment of love. And in order to detach ourselves for the sake of love, we cannot but express some element of hatred towards our attachments. This perfectly captured the intension of Fulton J. Sheen in his book “The seven capital sins” when he said, “Tell us your hatred and I will tell you what you are… Tell me your hatred and I will tell your character… Do you hate sin? Then you love God. Do you hate your selfishness, your quick temper, your wickedness, your laziness, and your adulterous acts? Then you are a good soul. This is a decisive step towards giving up everything for the sake of love which is God (God is love 1 Jn. 4:8). No wonder it is said, “Nothing goes for nothing.” Christ himself had to give up for love and so, our life cannot be Christlike if we are not ready to hate our likes for the sake of others and for the sake of God. Those who lived before us and are honored today and forever followed this route; that is detached in order to love. No other route to greatness except dying to live and love. The greatest expression of death due to love is found in the Holy Eucharist, which we shall discuss in March series. But as for the month of February, which is Valentine month, let us talk about human sexuality!