Love. An intense feeling of deep affection. A great interest and pleasure in something. Romeo and Juliet. Allie Hamilton and Noah Jr. We love love! We yearn to give and to receive love, and we yearn to find the greatest love of all. And of course, that phenomenon is heightened the most on February 14th.
A day that is either filled with milk chocolates, velvet roses, and passionate love, or heartbreak, isolation, and a burning desire for the day to end, Valentine’s Day is a consuming day for us all. Yet is something almost all of us inadvertently look forward to. And as the day approaches, it would be beneficial to look into the origins of this heartfelt or heart-wrenching day, as we all try to find what our greatest love truly is.
Valentine’s Day commemorates the Catholic Saint Valentine. According to History.com, “officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. Though it is hard to pinpoint the exact person since some historians believe that he was a temple priest and others believe that he was the Bishop of Terni.”
Even though the stories differ drastically on the actual person the plot is always that he was a martyr for Christ. He continued to preach and convert people to Christianity, even daring to convert Claudius II which would lead to his ultimate death on February 14th. Thus, this day is a celebration of his ultimate love for Christ, and it wasn’t until many years after his death, that it became an official romantic holiday.
Catholic online writes “The romantic nature of Valentine’s Day may have derived during the Middle Ages, when it was believed that birds paired couples in mid-February. According to English 18th-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, Valentine’s Day were most likely created to overpower the pagan holiday, “Lupercalia.” As a result, we still continue to associate this holiday with the passionate type of love that Valentine had for Christ.
And it is through this origin story, and through this alluring day that we all unconsciously attempt to discover the greatest love of all; God. Love is the one thing that connects us to God. It is what drove God to create light on the first day, create the moon and stars on the third day and breathe life into us on the sixth day. It is what led God to sacrifice his only begotten son for our sins even when we tortured and spat on him before he was crucified. God is love, and he, above all things, is the love that we search for.
No chocolates or flowers, or even relationships can amount to the love that God has for us and the love that we try to give back to him. Though that love can be tainted when we sin or fail to abide by the principles of our faith, it is always, and will always, be there. There’s nothing we can do to show God the same amount of love he has shown us, but we can show that love to his children. In fact, beloved Blessed Trinity faculty member, Mrs. Todd encourages us to substitute the romantic love that surrounds this season with “sacrificial love.” She says, then can love become “truly contagious.”
This sacrificial love that Todd speaks about is inspired by the love Jesus showed for his friends and followers and by extension, all of humanity. She believes that we can ignite a similar fire in “Blessed Trinity, that spreads through Roswell, into Cobb County and everywhere that people need it.” Sure, this seems like a monumental task, but she has some suggestions of how we can share that love with others in our BT community…
“Love is smiling with your eyes because we all have to wear these masks, and you can’t give someone a hug right now. Love is knowing someone is having a bad day and doing everything you can to make it better. Love is seeing that someone has 35 things in their hand in the lunch line, and lending them a helping hand so they don’t drop anything and get embarrassed.” These are all ways that we can show love to those around us in the way that Christ commanded us.
So what is the greatest love of all you may ask? It could be the love that Romeo and Juliet shared, the love that St.Valentine had for his faith, or possibly the love that consumes Noah Centineo and Lara Jean in the To All the Boys I Loved Before franchise. But truly, the greatest love of all is God. No one can fulfill this empty void that we feel in our hearts, or be in a constant eternal relationship with us, but him. He will continue to love us each and every day till we have our final and perfect union.
So as we chew on our heart-shaped candies, and cry through sappy romance movies, we must acknowledge the love we have for God this February 14th. After all, our relationship with him is the one, and the only, greatest love of all.