The Four Loves

“Where father or mother treat their offspring with an incivility which, offered to any other young people, would simply terminate the acquaintance, dogmatic assertions on matters which children understand and their elders don’t, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions, ridicule of things the young take seriously – sometimes of their religion – insulting references to their friends, all provide easy answers to the question of why their children never come home…Who does not prefer civility to barbarism?’” (Lewis, C.S., 1960, The Four Loves).

            Again from C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves), “To say that every Friendship is consciously and explicitly homosexual would be too obviously false…It has actually become necessary in our time to rebut the theory that every firm and serious friendship is really homosexual…Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a friend.” And “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets…as the blessed souls say in Dante, ‘Here comes one who will augment our loves’… Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are calling ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ one to another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.”

            Aristotle classified Philia as a virtue and Cicero wrote a timeless book on Amicitia. Friendship used to be the happiest and most human of all loves. Now it is not counted as love because few people allow themselves to experience the deep, mutual love of Friendship before they drown it in the idolatry of an all-pervasive, human sex drive.

            I interviewed a priest who started up a ministry for Catholics attracted to same sex partners. The one thing he said that I still remember is that people should feel blessed to experience a deep, close friendship with another person of the same sex. And the blessing of such friendship seems to be extolled by both G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, writers who also mourn the passing of acceptance for such deep friendships as they experienced in their lifetimes.


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