AHABA, the name for the application, comes from Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, ‘Deus Caritas Est’. Benedict writes:
Concretely, what does this path of ascent and purification entail? How might love be experienced so that it can fully realize its human and divine promise? Here we can find a first, important indication in the Song of Songs, an Old Testament book well known to the mystics. According to the interpretation generally held today, the poems contained in this book were originally love songs, perhaps intended for a Jewish wedding feast and meant to exalt conjugal love. In this context it is highly instructive to note that in the course of the book two different Hebrew words are used to indicate love. First there is the word “dodim,” a plural form suggesting a love that is still insecure, indeterminate and searching. This comes to be replaced by the word “ahaba,” 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.