This Valentine's Day, Elayne Grossmith invites you to look to the Bible for inspiration on how to love.
February is unique because it's the only month with less than 30 days, even in a leap year. But it's mainly an exceptional month because Valentine's Day is on the 14th. It's known and celebrated as a most memorable day for love relationships. It was probably introduced to you early in childhood when you were encouraged to send valentines to your classmates. It was fun, even though you didn't know about love then—not the true meaning of love, whom to love, and even more importantly, how to love.
As Catholic moms, there's no shortage of people whom you might love and choose to acknowledge on this day. You have children to shower with love, possibly parents and siblings, and maybe a romantic partner or husband to whom you would want to give special attention. You might give them cards or presents, or maybe some delicious edibles in the shape of a heart, like cookies or a cake. There are even chocolate-covered strawberries for this special occasion. It's fun to remind those you care about just how special they are to you. There genuinely isn't enough of that.
Humans struggle in love and knowing how best to demonstrate that love for each other. There was no formal training on what it means to love someone or even what love is.
But, a significant resource is available that defines precisely what love should be like and what it isn't. You might not have thought about looking in the Bible for guidance in love but, take a look at how St. Paul described love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
That's a formidable list to follow, but it's information that will bring you closer to loving the way Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
On the 14th and every day, will you remember telling Jesus how much you love Him? On the 15th, after the edibles are consumed and the cards are all opened, will you be able to say that you gave everyone the love they deserve?
Do not let love and fidelity forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3)
The Book of Proverbs tells you not to abandon love and faithfulness to Our Lord, but instead to love God constantly and be dependable in doing his will. It figuratively suggests that you wear it "around your neck" like a necklace and write it "on the tablet of your heart." It's a solid suggestion to make it so apparent to yourself that you never forget to demonstrate your love for Our Lord.
This year, try making a Valentine's Day resolution to alter the pattern of how you love. If you review the list above from 1 Corinthians, do you find any of the descriptions of love something you could improve in how you love? Why not resolve yourself to do better. If there are times when you're quick-tempered, rude, jealous, pompous, or any other way "love is not," why not try to improve it and be more Christ-like in the way you love.
Pray to St. Valentine, a priest who believed in love so sincerely that his helping Christian couples wed led to his beheading. It's no surprise that St. Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, engaged couples, and happy marriages. Pray to St. Valentine for help.
Dear St. Valentine, glorious martyr,
Teach me to love unselfishly, and
Find great love in giving.
Don't forget to teach your children that the secular holiday of Valentine's Day is a celebration of St. Valentine's feast day. Isn't it fitting that you choose to improve how you demonstrate love for others on his feast day?
Copyright 2022 Elayne Grossmith
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About the Author
Elayne Grossmith is an advocate for creating lasting relationships by "loving with your brain." She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and completed a two-year fellowship in neuropsychology. She has offered psychological and neuropsychological services through her private practice and has testified as an expert witness for Ford Motor Company. Elayne was certified as a Qualified Medical Evaluator by the State of California.