As the world celebrates romance and love today I thought I would say a few words about true love. “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1Corinth 13:13). So what is love? Or more accurately who is love? St. John answers this question telling us that, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected within us” (1 Jn. 4:16-17) In his encyclical, God is Love, Pope Benedict says that this is where our definition of love must begin. We love because God, who is love, first loved us. That is why he created us. But his love did not end with our creation. After the fall of man, God not only freed his chosen people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, but he freed all of mankind from the slavery of sin by sending his only Son to be our redeemer (John 3:16) and calling us to the heavenly Marriage Feast which is “union with God through sharing in Jesus’ self-gift, sharing in his body and blood.” The best way to grow in love for another person is to grow in love for God.
A Valentine’s Day suggestion for couples (now that it is almost over): spend time in prayer together.
Advice from St. John Chrysostom: young husbands should say to their wives: “I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us… I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.” (CCC 2365)