Love Essay

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Journal of Psychology and Christianity 2012, Vol. 31, No. 2, 118-129 Copyright 2012 Christian Association for Psychological Studies ISSN 0733^273 The Art of Love: A Roman Catholic Psychology of Love Craig Steven Titus Philip Scrofani Institutefor the Psychological Sciences This article develops a psychology of love that integrates a Roman Catholic understanding of the personin-relationship and fmdings of secular psychology. It demonstrates the dynamics of the virtue of love (as an act of love, a disposition to love, and the command to love) that demands attention to biophysical, psychosocial, and spiritual levels of relationships, emotion, cognition, and freewill. It indicates that love has a role to play in therapy with those in need of treatment, especially couples, families, and special populations. Numerous therapeutic challenges to love exist, including: transcending self, love of self, and love of enemies. This focus on therapy incorporates science and philosophy but also requires something greater, namely Christ's gift of grace and revelation. While this gift remains dependent on God, therapists and clients are called to bear loving witness to it and to God, not only in the therapeutic relationship, but also in all their vocations and life work. Love is "divine" because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a "we" which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is "all in all" U Cor. 15:28, Benedict XVI, 2005, n. 18) Love is divine. It is also human. The heart of Christianity is found in the love or charity (.agape) of God above all tbings, and in tbe love of neigbbor as self, as put in the synoptic Gospels (Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27). The Gospel of St. John's extensive treatment of love makes of it a "new commandment" Qn. 13:1) and a friendship love (Jn. 15:13). St. Paul

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