Love can be understood as a potential ability, an attitude, and a relationship. Everyone is called to the mature ability to love, to take up an attitude of love and to build relationships of love. This is the foundation of happiness for every person. This is true also for those who don’t know about it, or even deny it.
Maturing to love
I think that when writing about love it is good to clarify the understanding of this concept. Let’s forget common phrases (sometimes primitive or even vulgar), describing “great love” in terms of overly passionate emotions (often destructive) that have escaped the control of reason and will, or “making love” understood as sexual intercourse (with anyone, in any circumstance). Let’s just remember that love generates good and only good – and that’s how it can be unmistakably recognized.
Everyone is equipped with the potential for love. However, this is only a potential, and it is necessary to grow up to be able to implement it in real life. More precisely, it is necessary to work it out with effort, sometimes even fight for it purposefully. Since love is a “selfless gift of self”, to make the “object” of love to be a gift, we must “own” ourselves in an elementary way. Briefly speaking, it is necessary, through openness to the grace and the hardships of self-education, to control with reason and will the longings and reactions and stimulations of one’s body. For example, a man addicted to pornography and masturbation can sincerely desire purity and vow to love, to honour and to be true, but unfortunately he is unable to fulfil this desire. First, he must take up the effort of freeing himself from addiction (for example the 12 steps therapy borrowed from alcoholics), which, supported by grace, often leads to becoming completely free. Thus he regains the ability to love. He can now give of himself on the chosen path of love. The greater the internal freedom, the greater the potential for love. Achieving the full ability to love is an important, as well as necessary, element of human happiness.