Valentine's: Forgiveness and Love

2/9/2018 - 10:19:54 AM

Hidden Love

Saint Valentine...what a great guy! It’s that time of year to follow in his footsteps. Valentine’s Day is two days away! Are you ready? Did you get a gift, make some plans...will you look your best for the love of your life?

But wait, who was Saint Valentine and why do we celebrate? Well, love is certainly worth celebrating, but who was Saint Valentine? Well, his history is all pretty vague, and actually, I’m only asking the question to acknowledge the day’s namesake. It’s basically a setup to ask another question. (But if you’re curiosity is up now, there’s evidence that this “person” might in reality be an amalgamation of two or more people.)

Anyway, here’s my “real” question: When you give gifts and cards on Valentine’s, what’s your intent? You might say, “Duh, to show my love!” But it got me thinking, do the gifts we give represent who we really are or wish we were? Maybe we’re all an “amalgamation” of both. It has been said that love is complicated. While that may often be true, it would certainly be less complicated if our wistful words and amorous actions were just extensions of a truly compassionate and well meaning heart.

Forgiveness is a Virtue

But alas, putting others first is not something most of us are naturally prone to do. But it’s not too late. It’s time to be more intentional, consciously deciding to be more selfless. We can begin to practice it daily. Let’s start with forgiveness. In extending to others the same mercy we often give to ourselves, we will begin to understand and experience the “true love” that is printed on the candy heart you just ate.

María D. Parrilla de Kokal thinks that “forgiveness is an act of love that is more generous than the cards, candy or gifts we customarily give and receive.” Writing for the Standard-Examiner, she lists the 9 steps Dr. Frederic Luskin created as part of The Stanford University Forgiveness Projects. He basically defines forgiveness as making peace with the fact that others don’t always respond to us the way we want or expect them to. 1 Corinthians 13, a scripture that has been used in many weddings, says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” And Jesus agreed with the lawyer who said loving your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment.

To enjoy the true feelings of love, our love must be patient and kind. It must not envy, boast, or be proud. It will honor others. Love avoids self-seeking, being easily angered, and keeping a record of wrongs. Love must not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. It will always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere. Love is the focus of Valentine’s Day. Make your love more complete with the practice of forgiveness. When you share your tokens of love and affection this Valentine’s Day, may the light of God’s love strengthen the bonds you have with others. Love is a many splendored thing!

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