Valentine's Day calls us to search for true love

By  Catherine Richard, Youth Speak News
  • February 12, 2010
Valentine’s Day always brings a plethora of images to my mind. The first is a picture of a bishop, ministering to young couples through the streets of third-century Italy — though, I have to admit, I didn’t know it was third century Italy I was imagining until I read more about St. Valentine.

As I was reading, I was surprised to find that we know so little about this saint except his name and that he was buried beside a road leading to Rome on Feb. 14.

All other stories and descriptions of him are from legends that have been passed down through the centuries. Why then has a small feast day honouring a virtually unknown saint become an international celebration of love?

In a sense, that’s an easy question to answer. North American society loves romance. You will be hard pressed to find a movie or book that does not have a romantic storyline somewhere. There is something about romantic love that draws us in.

Deep inside each of us we long for true love, and even though we often settle for less, we have a subtle understanding of what we’re looking for.

We are ultimately searching for a true, pure love, and we hope and pray that the spotlight of our hearts will discover it.

When I was eight, my mom had my siblings and I memorize 1 Cor. 13:4-8 — Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, etc. I lay in bed for so many nights afterward, trying to decide if I was truly loving or not.

I eventually realized that true love is perfect, and the only perfect person I knew of was God.

At first, that realization was rather disheartening. We often understand as youngsters that it is impossible to attain perfection, so how can we possibly attain true love?

The funny thing is, even though it does seem impossible, God still calls us to it.

Now think about it: would God call you to do something you could not do? No, He wouldn’t. So, however lofty the goal of perfect love may seem, God knows we can achieve it. How do we achieve it? Another Bible passage gives us the answer. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.

There is a river of grace flowing from His heart to ours. Is perfect love possible? It is, and it becomes a reality when we let ourselves become swept along with this grace.

Being “swept along” means that through our day we can call upon this grace of Jesus and He will help us to choose love in even the hardest circumstances‚ and if you do choose love in every single circumstance, you will be well on your way to becoming the exact person God wants you to be.

So, this Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate as we usually do and honour our friends, families and significant others, but let’s also take the time to meditate on the love of Jesus for us, and perhaps, through Him, we will start growing in that perfect love.

(Richard, 15, is a Grade 11 home-schooled student in Winnipeg.)

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