This comes to be replaced by the word ahabÃ , which the Greek version of the Old Testament translates with the similar-sounding agape, which, as we have seen, becomes the typical expression for the biblical notion of love. By contrast with an indeterminate, “searching” love, this word expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character that prevailed earlier. Love now becomes concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice. ~Deus Caritas Est
No greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friends. The love of which Pope Benedict speaks in his first encyclical is what we Orthodox (and not only the Orthodox) refer to as kenotic love, a love in which the lover empties himself out and succumbs to every humiliation for the sake of the beloved. This is the love that the Lord had for all men, such that He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, and it is because the Master has become a slave for our sakes that we may dwell with the Master in His court. Such love as this is found in the abandonment of our own will, the learning of humility and obedience and patience, and the doing of His will that we might fulfill the greatest commandments of love. Perfect love is realised in true unity of will, as we put aside self-will and embrace the transformed will of our restored nature, and it is realised in the synergeia of God and man and men with one another and the communion of all in Christ by the blessings of the Holy Spirit. But such love is also the font of these virtues, and without it there is no real living virtue in us.
Via Charles Featherstone, LewRockwell.com Blog.