Mother Teresa once said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” In 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter on love, St. Paul ends by saying that of the three theological virtues, faith, hope and love, the greatest is love.
True love is not a feeling. It is a decision we make each and every moment of the day to put the good of others, before ourselves. It does not mean neglecting our own well-being. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and as such need to be cared for, however, if we are to be a people of love, we cannot live the “Look out for #1” motto that today’s culture encourages.
When we put God first in our lives, we will want to live a life of humble service to others. Our Father modeled this for us when “The Word became flesh” – in the form of a tiny, poor baby. This infant king grew into a man who healed, preached and even washed feet. Mother Mary modeled true love for us when she submitted totally to God’s Will, even though she knew that what God was asking of her would be terribly difficult and even painful. Jesus showed us true love when He suffered and died a horrible death, so that we might have life eternal with Him.
On this feast of St. Valentine, let us enjoy the chocolates, cards, flowers and warm wishes. Let us also look past these gifts and traditions to the deeper meaning of the day – a call to love Christ and others with our whole selves. We may never be called to give our lives as martyrs, like St. Valentine, but we can give our lives in service to God, by being people of great love. Love can change the world – one person at a time.
Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You gave Saint Valentine the courage to witness to the gospel of Christ, even to the point of giving his life for it. Help us to endure all suffering for love of you, and to seek you with all our hearts; for you alone are the source of life and love. Grant that we may have the courage and love to be strong witnesses of your truth to our friends and family and to the whole world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.