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Not Just a Hallmark Holiday




"Love is patient and kind; Love is not jealous or boastful. It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

-1 Corinthians 13:4-7


In early February Jeff was geting anxious. He put a deposit down on a ring for Brenda. They have been an item for five and half years and he finally thought it was time to the pop the question. It was Valentine's day; midafternoon. Jeff left his apartment to pick up the ring. He went to get the chocolates, the card and some gum. He thought "do I have everything? Am I forgetting something?" He picked up Brenda at 6:00pm for dinner. They went to an expensive upscale resturant in the city. "Thank you for such a delicious dinner, Jeff. This is so nice." Jeff concluded with "your welcome" He stuttered a bit and then finished "Brenda, there is something I want to ask you...." With a hesitant pause he continued with the question. Brenda expecting this would happen on Valentine's Day did not know what to say. She was a little taken back by it because he was not the type of person to comitt to anything. She knew of his past and problems with trust. But eventually she said yes.


Of course, this is a fictional story, but some of us have been in this type of situation. Valentine's Day is known as the "Love Holiday." Stores are filled with Valentine cards, stuffed animals and over priced chocolate. The Hallmark channel has movie marathons on love stories with happy endings. But love portrayed on the Hallmark Channel does not really show what love really is. Love is sacrifice. It's not just a feeling. It is action. We communicate with one another with our bodies. A gesture of love is a hug, a kiss, a "I love you." Parents show their love by caring for their children. They sacrifice their time to go to basketball games, gymnatics practice, soccor games etc. A husband cares for his sick wife, a high school student stands up to a bully and defends another in his class. A man helps an elderly woman cross the street. All of these are examples of love. In Scripture we hear what we do with the body in this life determines our eternity in the next life. Love can move us to do some amazing things.


Love is a powerful force. It is so powerful that it can overcome death. This is what Jesus did for humanity. He died (and rose from the dead) to save us from our sins and gave us eternal life in Heaven. Many saints have also died for the common good such as St. Valentine. He was a priest and Bishop in the 3rd century. He was put in prison for spreading Christianity and marrying Christian couples. In prison, he signed a letter "from your Valentine" to the jailers daughter who he cured of blindness. The emporer at the time wanted him to renounce Christianity, but he refused and was put to death. Another well known saint of our time is, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcultta. She cared for the rejected and abandoned people in India while they were dying because no one wanted them. She said "there should be a place where people can die with dignity and know they are wanted." The work that she did and the Sisters of Charity (an order that she founded) shows unconditional love.


That unconditoinal love comes from somewhere and that somewhere is God. St. Mother Teresa was able to care and love for the dying in India because she loved God. She is a great example of how we are all called to live. We are all called to love one another, even strangers and our enemies. Yes, it is hard to love our enemies, but it leads us to freedom. The more we love, the better we become and the closer we get to Heaven.


So, how do we access the Love of God? How can we know Him and get close to Him? One way to start is in prayer. This is how we communicate with Him by telling him our thoughts and desires. Prayer is lifting our hearts to Him. St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) has a great quote on the Love of God. He said "To fall in love with God, is the greatest romance. To seek Him, the greatest adventure. To find Him, the greatest human achievement." When we come to know of God's love, we feel secure, happy, less anxious and can get through any trial or temptation because we have Him in our lives. The other way we can access His love is through the Sacraments of the Catholic Faith. Jesus gave us the Sacraments because he wants to be close to us. When we recieve Him in the Eucharist, we are in union with Him if we are in the state of grace. The love of God not only helps us to be in relationship with Him, but His Love aids us in healing whether it is from anxiety, depression, relationship problems or any kind of addiction.


So, this Valentine's Day, know that You are Loved. God is so in love with you that He reaches out to you everyday through people, situations, and events to show His love. It doesn't matter if you have fallen away from the faith or have not known him all your life. You have your whole life to decide. What is your response? Do you want to know of this great amazing Love?


About the Author: Donna L. Marotto is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Director of Faith Formation at St. Thomas Church and is a Lay Franciscan. She provides one on one spiritual/Christian Counseling and gives talks at churches. If you would like to work with her, please visit her website at Youarelovedministry.com or email marottodonna8@gmail.com




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