“I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good” -St. Josephine Bakhita
Smile! God loves you (and I do, too)! Happy Valentine’s Day!
I love meditating on his passage from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son:
“This is the great mystery of our faith. We do not choose God, God chooses us. From all eternity we are hidden ‘in the shadow of God’s hand’ and ‘engraved in his palm.’ Before any human being touches us, God ‘forms us in secret’ and ‘textures us ‘ in the depth of the earth, and before any human being decides about us, God ‘knits us together in our mother’s womb.’ God loves us before any human person can show love to us. He loves us with a ‘first’ love, an unconditional love, wants us to be his beloved children, and tells us to become as loving as himself…
God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not ‘How am I to find God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be found by Him?’ The question is not ‘How am I to know God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be known by him?’ And finally, the question is not ‘How am I to love God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be loved by Him?’”
Whether we are single or in a relationship, God must be our “first love.” He is Love, after all (1 Jn. 4:16-17), and we can’t give what we don’t have. Thus, the best way to grow in love for another is to first have a relationship with God and let ourselves be loved by Him.
A little St. Valentine’s Day trivia:
-Today is the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, not St. Valentine.
-There are actually multiple St. Valentines, many of whom are martyrs. Which is appropriate, since love – real love – is a total gift of self. Quoting St. Therese of Lisieux: Love is nourished only by sacrifices.
As a single-almost-thirty-year-old, I could easily read way too much into this, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. So, for now, I will just pray:
O St. Valentine, lover of Christ and of the Church, we ask your intercession that we may learn how to love God above all things, and to selflessly love one another. O glorious St. Valentine, pray for us, that we, too may have the steadfast faith of the martyrs. Amen.
P.S. Meet my Valentine