With Valentine’s Day just a few days away I was struck with the quote for the day on EWTN.com for the mass readings:
“To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it only for His sake.” — St. Peter Claver
This ‘special’ day has come to epitomize the erosion of society’s understanding of love. It has become sensualized, it has lost its altruistic importance – it is shallow. That doesn’t mean that some individuals and couples don’t grasp the true meaning, but this is in spite of what our market-driven culture emphasizes. Most of what we see on Valentine’s day is a self-centered understanding of love. Society places an emphasis on self satisfaction to the point where many view their partner as a means to pleasure; and if the relationship doesn’t give the pleasure people feel they deserve then it is ok to move on.
When I read the quote from St. Peter Claver I am struck by the true understanding of love; it comes from God, as do we. When we fall in love, truly fall in love, we are acknowledging God’s gift to us and our ability to share it with others. We see God in those we befriend, and we see God in a most special way in our spouse. We are driven to give our all for that person – we are called to sacrifice our chance for ‘worldly-pleasure’ so that our spouse can be truly happy and grow. As Christ showed us, love is a joyful sacrifice. A relationship built from God’s love is one that is reciprocated by each other. When we give our all for each other we become one; one in Christ. This is the true meaning to Saint Valentine’s Day.