I suppose that, for many of us moderns, love really can be "just a word" at first. Not so for the ancient Greeks. For them, love was a god, the first of the gods, a powerful, irresistible force. When "someone came along" to manifest that force, the Greeks beheld the embodiment of the god.
The Palatine Anthology is rife with that recognition of divinity, e.g. Meleager (12.54):
Ἀρνεῖται τὸν Ἔρωτα τεκεῖν ἡ Κύπρις, ἰδοῦσα
ἄλλον ἐν ἠιθέοις Ἵμερον Ἀντίοχον.
ἀλλά, νέοι, στέργοιτε νέον Πόθον· ἦ γὰρ ὁ κοῦρος
εἴρηται κρείσσων οὗτος Ἔρωτος Ἔρως.
(Cypris denies that she gave birth to Love now that she sees Antiochus among the young men, a second Love. But, young men, love this new Love ; for of a truth this boy has proved to be a Love better than Love himself.)
Εἰ μὴ τόξον Ἔρως μηδὲ πτερὰ μηδὲ φαρέτραν
μηδὲ πυριβλήτους εἶχε πόθων ἀκίδας,
οὐκ, αὐτὸν τὸν πτανὸν ἐπόμνυμαι, οὔποτ' ἂν ἔγνως
ἐκ μορφᾶς, τίς ἔφυ Ζωίλος ἢ τίς Ἔρως.
(If Love had neither bow, nor wings, nor quiver, nor the barbed arrows of desire dipped in fire, never, I swear it by the winged boy himself, could you tell from their form which is Zoilus and which is Love.)
Εἰ χλαμύδ' εἶχεν Ἔρως καὶ μὴ πτερὰ μηδ' ἐπὶ νώτων
τόξα τε καὶ φαρέτραν, ἀλλ' ἐφόρει πέτασον,
ναίχι τὸν ἁβρὸν ἔφηβον ἐπόμνυμαι, Ἀντίοχος μὲν
ἦν ἂν Ἔρως, ὁ δ' Ἔρως τἄμπαλιν Ἀντίοχος.
(If Love had a chlamys and no wings, and wore no bow and quiver on his back, but a broad-brimmed hat, then yes, I swear it by the splendid youth himself, Antiochus would be Love, and Love, on the other hand, Antiochus.)
If we could have Coelho's sentiment in the original Portuguese, we Hellenists might not find his "wording" so incongruous. Any chance you could come up with that?