The third cardinal virtue: Love By Paulo Coelho
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The third cardinal virtue:
Love According to the dictionary: from the Latin amor: strong affection that drives us towards the object of our desires; inclination of the soul and heart; affection; passion; exclusive inclination; theological grace.
In the New Testament: So faith, hope and love endure. These are the great three, and the greatest of them is love. (Corinthians 13:13)
According to etymology: the Greeks had three words to designate love: Eros, Philos and Agape. Eros is the healthy love between two persons that justifies life and perpetuates the human race. Philos is the sentiment that we dedicate to our friends. Finally, Agape, which contains both Eros and Philos, goes far beyond “liking” someone. Agape is total love, the love that devours those who feel it. For Catholics, this was the love that Jesus felt for humanity, and it was so great that it shook the stars and changed the course of the history of men. Those who know and feel Agape realize that nothing else in this world has any importance, only loving.
For Oscar Wilde:
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword! (Ballad of Reading Jail, 1898)
In a late 19th century sermon: Pour your love generously on the poor, which is easy; and on the rich, who distrust everybody and cannot see the love that they so need. And on your neighbor – which is very difficult, because it is towards him that we are most selfish. Love. Never lose a chance to give joy to your neighbor, because you will be the first to benefit from this – even if nobody knows what you are doing. The world around you will become happier, and things will become easier for you. I am in this world living the present. Any good thing that I can do, or any happiness that I can bring to others, please tell me. Don’t let me put things off or forget, because I shall never live this moment again. (Henry Drummond The Supreme Gift, [1851-1897])
In an e-mail received by the author: “While I kept my heart to myself, I never had a single morning of anguish or a single night of insomnia. Since I fell in love, my life has been a sequence of anguish, losses, confusion. I think that God, by using love, managed to hide hell in the middle of Paradise” (C.A., 23/11/2006)
For science: In the year 2000, researchers Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki, of University College in London, located the areas of the brain activated by romantic love by using a series of students who claimed to be madly in love. In the first place, they concluded that the zones affected by the sentiment are far smaller than they had imagined, and are the same as those activated by stimuli of euphoria, such as in using cocaine, for example. Which led the authors to conclude that love is similar to the manifestation of physical dependence provoked by drugs.
Also using the same system of scanning the brain, scientist Helen Fisher, of Rutgers University, concludes that three characteristics of love (sex, romanticism and mutual dependence) stimulate different areas of the cortex, and further conclude that we can be in love with one person, want to make love to another, and live with a third.
For a poet: Love possesses nothing and does not want to be possessed, because it is enough in itself. It will make you grow, and then throw you on the ground. It will whip you so that you feel your impotence, it will shake you to rid you of all your impurities. It will crush you to leave you flexible. And then it will toss you in the fire so that you can become the blessed bread to be served at God’s sacred feast (The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran [1883-1931])