Thursday, February 14, 2013

John Paul II on love ...

When will they start making "Love and Responsibility" inspired St. Valentine's Day cards?

"Betrothed love comprises on the one hand the gift of the person, and on the other hand, acceptance of that gift.  Implicit in all this is the 'mystery' of reciprocity: acceptance must also be giving, and giving receiving.  Love is of its nature reciprocal: he who knows how to receive knows also how to give -- I am of course speaking of a 'skill' which is characteristic of love, for there is also a 'skill' in giving and receiving which is characteristic of egoism.  

"The skill in giving and receiving which is typical of love is exhibited by the man whose attitude to a woman is informed by total affirmation of her value as a person, and equally by the woman whose attitude to a man is informed by affirmation of his value as a person.  This skill creates the specific climate of betrothed love -- the climate of surrender of the innermost self.  Both man and woman need this genuine capacity for affirmation of the value of the person, if the gift of self is to be fully valid, and equally if acceptance of the gift is to be valid.  

"A woman is capable of truly making a gift of herself only if she fully believes in the value of her person and in the value as a person of the man to whom she vies herself.  And a man is capable of fully accepting a woman's gift of herself only if he is fully conscious of the magnitude of the gift -- which he cannot be unless he affirms the value of her person.  

"Realization of the value of the gift awakens the need to show gratitude and to reciprocate in ways which would match its value.  We can also see here how essential it is for betrothed love, a love which is a reciprocal giving of self, to contain the inner structure of friendship."          -- Karol Wojtyla, "Love and Responsibility" 

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