Friday, February 18, 2011

Class on Love

Some have asked that I put my classes online again. The last system we were using crashed last Fall, but occasionally I will put them on Youtube. This is an introductory look at authentic vs. romantic love. If you are curious, enjoy. (If you are reading this on Facebook, you'll need to view the class on the blog at


  1. Fr. John,

    I loved your class on Love and it made me want your thoughts on a conversation I have had with a few people about love. One of my friends and I constantly debate this question and I would love your perspective.

    Are human beings capable of unconditional love?

    My guess is that you believe we are and that's what makes a marriage possible once the romantic love has dissipated. Am I right?

  2. Kritin, I would say that Love is, by its nature, if it really is Love, unconditional. If there were conditions or restraints on love, then it wouldn't be love.

    However, if by unconditional one means that I can guarantee that my love will never go away, that my love will never waver, then that seems to me impossible. I can vow that I will never stop loving, but if I said FOR SURE I will never stop loving then that would be to say that I know the future and that I know I will never fail. A marriage vow is a promise to never stop loving, but if a vow sealed and guaranteed that two people will always love one another for the rest of time then there would be no divorce. Sin and free will make it the case that I can never lock in for sure on something like love.

    Love is a virtue and therefore implies a constant working at it. I can, at any moment, choose no longer to love, to stop working at love - and so precisely because a person can, because of free will, choose to stop loving, the beauty of two people who love becomes all the more apparent and all the more a much needed symbol to our fallen world.

    I hope that makes sense, but I fear it may not!

  3. Yes I think that makes a lot of sense. My stance on this question has been that obviously our love does not remain unchallenged - we aren't free from anger or hurt by the ones we love - but we are capable, if we work at it and are committed to it and can forgive, to still love the person that hurt us. Honestly, I don't want to live in a world where few people believe in that possibility. Thanks for your insight!