Eros & Agape
Updated: Apr 23
February 14th is Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate love and show your loved ones how you feel about them. Traditionally it is for lovers or romantic partners, whether courting or married. However anyone can express their affections for friends, family or even furry companions. It can be quite commercialized and leave single people feeling lonely and left out. Usual gift giving includes flowers, chocolates, tokens of love and special meals to celebrate their togetherness. All this may leave you wondering about the origins of Valentine's Day. Why do people make a fuss and when did it start?
Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. Originally it was a Christian feast day honoring a martyr named Valentine and later became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 18th-century it became fashionable for couples in England to express their love for each other with greeting cards called Valentines. Children and even adults still make these cards and exchange them.
Eros is the Greek God of Love and is the son of Aphrodite. In Roman tradition he is known as Cupid. This is why you see a little angel with a bow and arrow on greeting cards and advertisements. For anyone shot by the arrow of love is filled with uncontrollable desire for another. Eros means "Love, Desire". Erotic is derived from Eros.
Eros love is all about passion, wild, consuming and sexual attraction. It's the kind of love people blame when they say they were out of their mind in love and can't think straight or is the reason that their rational thinking and judgement are clouded. They may say the other person drives them crazy with desire. Often it is biological, like a big dose of endorphins making you feel as if you are on cloud nine. The human race survives due to Eros. The object of your affection seems perfect. Instant attraction is not necessarily bad, but is a good reason to take things slower so you can really get to know someone. It can make you fall blindly in love because you are distracted by the feeling which could have some unintended consequences. You might miss red flags or rationalize them.
It feels good, however is not usually permanent or lasting. So two things usually follow, either it disappears when you take off the rose colored glasses and you wonder what you were thinking, or it changes into a deeper love.
That deeper love is Agape love, which is the highest form of love, charity and the love of God for man and of man for God. Agape love is what is thought of as unconditional love. It is God-Like Love. You love the other person even though they are human and not "perfect". You may see them as "perfectly imperfect" and "perfect for you" in spite of your differences and their shortcomings. You are able to overlook some things that are annoying or bother you but are not deal-breakers. In turn, they do the same for you.
The Bible speaks of real love in my favorite verse in Corinthians:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is all of these. Anything contrary is not of love, but born of fear. Ask yourself if you are really acting out of love or out of fear. As fear is usually underneath feelings masked by ego, insecurity, anger and pride. Love is not a just a feeling. Just saying I love you does not make it true. Actions speak louder than words.
Love is not about possession or control. That behavior can be mistakenly said it is out of love. Notice when you hold on too tight, the very thing you are afraid of happens, you can lose that relationship. Freedom means they choose to be with you, and if not, then it wasn't meant to be. Fear is a turn off.
Remember your love needs to include yourself. For you can't give from an empty cup. "Love your neighbor as yourself" starts with you. Give yourself permission to be human. Treat yourself with the same empathy you would give others.
If you are single, try to enjoy the holiday by treating yourself. Buy yourself the flowers and candy. Take a bubble bath or go out with friends. It really is okay to not be in a relationship. There is a lot of freedom being single! Enjoy it while you can because Cupid's arrow could find you when you least expect it.
The truth is that God is Love. Acting from a place of love is how we are like God, in God's image, by being loving to other's. We are not God, but are of God. This is how we change the world, with Love!
I send you peace, love and light and wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day!
God bless you, have a great week and Namaste.
Rev. S. Castle