Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Picture of Love

My column in this weekend's bulletin at the parish where I am Religious Education Coordinator. Happy St. Valentine's Day to my readers!

Today is Valentine’s Day, concluding National Marriage Week which was February 7-14! Despite what many think, this is not just another Hallmark holiday. This day actually started as the celebration of a wonderful Catholic Saint:

St. Valentine, a priest in Rome during the persecution of Christians in the 200’s, risked his life to help his fellow Christians to worship in secret. When the Emperor Claudius issued a decree forbidding marriage (in order to increase troops for his army, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men), Valentine defied this decree and urged young lovers to come to him in secret so that he could join them in the sacrament of matrimony. He knew that marriage is a holy union willed by God. Eventually he was discovered by the Emperor and was thrown into prison. While in prison, Valentine converted his jailor to the Christian Faith, and also healed the jailor’s daughter, who was blind. Legend has it that while in jail, he wrote letters to encourage the Christians and signed them “From Your Valentine”. He was martyred on February 14, and his feast day became Valentine’s Day.

Our society has a lot of mixed-up ideas about love. We might hear someone say “I love pizza”… then “I love my wife” and “I love Jesus”! In reality, love can only be toward a person – never a thing. It is about much more than flowers, balloons, chocolates, poetic cards, or warm feelings. True love is not just expressed in a costly gift, but in the giving of oneself. It can be much easier to bare one’s wallet than it is to bare one’s heart.

If we want a picture of love, all we need do is look at the cross. Jesus Christ, Love incarnate, came to show us that love equals sacrifice. He said to us: “This is how much I love you” – and then gave up His life for us.

How many spouses get motivated to do something memorable and romantic today, and then return to Mr. or Mrs. Grouch tomorrow? The challenge to each of us today is this: Am I willing to lay down my life – or at the very least, my comforts or preferences – for the sake of the one that I love?


Rae said...

"Am I willing to lay down my life – or at the very least, my comforts or preferences – for the sake of the one that I love?"
Good question. I think that it is easier when one remembers that giving oneself for the salvation of the other is one of the main reasons to get married in the first place.

Claire said...

Amen! It's just that so many young couples don't know that key fact. :)

Young Mom said...

You have such a beautiful blog Claire! I would have commented more this last week, but with the girls and I getting sick everything has slowed to a crawl over here.

Claire said...

Young Mom,

Thank you! I'm praying that your sweet family is better soon. I'm so glad we are in touch again! ;)