"Love is Patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6
It was Valentine's Day and I wanted to propose to my boyfirend (who is now my husband) but wasn't sure how? So, I asked my roommate. She suggested to write him a note or a letter and give it to him discretley. That's when I got the idea to put the question in a fortune cookie. So, I went to the super market and bought a few boxes. During the process of opening the fortune cookies, I broke almost all of them, but one. I managed to put the "will you marry me?" question in it. I sealed it up and put it in a safe place until it was time. Later that week, we went to dinner at a Japenese restuarant. I informed the waiter of my plans, handed him the fortune cookie and asked him to bring it out during dessert. My husband thought it was a joke and asked if it was a real question. Of course he said "yes" and we have been married now for almost nineteen years.
Love can make us do some interesting things. It is also the answer to the world that is looking for meaning and purpose. Valentine's Day is usually a day filled wth sweet messages, chocolates, roses and cards. Stores are filled with products to give your significant other. It is not only a day to give a "I love You" card to your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, but also your son, daughter, mom, dad, uncle, aunt and even your pet. It is also a money making holiday. Last year in 2020, Valentine's Day shoppers spent $27.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That is a lot of money. The majority of the money was spent on candy, cards, an evening out and flowers.
It seems as if Love is the driving force of this Holiday. After all, we have celebrated it for over 1,500 years. The first Valentine's Day was celebrated in the year 496 A.D. It first started with a Roman Celebration and then became the feast of St. Valentine. He was priest/bishop that lived in the 200's who was martyred for his faith. During the reign of Claudius II in Rome, he believed married men would be terrible soldiers, so he banned marriage. St. Valentine married people in secret and therefore was imprisoned for his actions. It seems like a lot to risk for love. But that is what love is all about. It is selfless, sacrificial and giving. Love is not a feeling, but rather an action. In the nineteen years that I have been married, my husband and I have learned to grow in love. I learned to love my husband and kids more by not being so selfish. My husband has also made many sacrifices in our marriage. When you invite love to be part of your life, your relationships are renewed, they are more meaningful and life becomes worth living.
But Love has a source. It comes not from something, but someone. That someone is God. See, God does not just love us as humans, but He is Love. That is His total essence, His Being. It says in John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." There is nothing greater than God's Love. He is the ultimate, the peak, the pinnacle, the mountaintop of Love. God loved us first. So, He leaves it up to us to love Him back (or not). Love is not forced. You can never force anyone to love you. It has to be a choice and up to your free will. The love that God has for us can be shown in the sacrafice that Jesus made by dying for us. Not only did Jesus die and was resurrected, but He gave us the Eucharist, so we can remain in Love here on earth until we reach Heaven. The Eucharist is the intimacy we can have with Him that He so desires for every soul. This love is called Agape Love. It is selfless and unconditional. It is not romantic love, but rather a parent/child loving relationship.
All of this sounds great until we fill our souls with things other than God. When we do this, our lives become disordered and we search by trying to fill that void. This void can only be filled by Him. St. Augustine once said "Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you." The reasons why we fill ourselves with things other than God is because we need healing. Everyone has a wound of some sort, whether big or small. If we fill our lives consumed by sports, social media, gambling, food, pornography or any other worldly thing, it interfers with our relationship with Him (and others). We are trying to meet a need of love and acceptance that we may not have recieved when we were children. But, there is good news. You are already loved and accepted by God. He is your loving parent who is always with you. He never leaves you and wants to help you with whatever you are going through. He loves you unconditionally. People can disappoint us, but He will never dissapoint.
In Conclusion: The happiness and love you are looking for can only be found in a relationship with God. It is what you were made for. When you put God first in your life, everything else falls in place. Once you do this, relationships will bloom, there will be more peace in your life and you can get through many difficulties. Remember Love is not forced. It is up to you to love Him back. Are you willing to take a change on that Love?
About the Author: Donna L. Marotto is a Licesned Marriage and Family Therapist, Faith Formation Director, Youth Minister and Lay Franciscan. If you have questions or comments or would like her to speak at your event, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Blogs are published the third Monday of the month. Next month will be on the season of Lent and the one year anniversary of the Pandemeic.