The Art of Loving
There is a new sense of the value of true love today. It has been said that society’s ills aren’t due so much to a lack of resources but rather to the lack of true relationships of love between individuals, peoples and nations.
Erich Fromm wrote on the need to learn the “art of loving,” commenting on how “… people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art.… In spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.” 1
For his part, in 2000 the then Cardinal Ratzinger observed that as people search for happiness, what they are looking for is someone to teach them the art of living, the art that Jesus taught.
Chiara Lubich too believes we discover this art of living and loving in the Gospel:
- be the first to love (don’t wait for others to love you);
- love your neighbor as yourself (that gives a balanced measure);
- love your enemy (trying to see things from their point of view helps!)
- and love one another (what Jesus calls “his” and “new” commandment).
1 Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1975), 12.