Is it me or has St. Valentine’s Day become all about spending money, the color red, flowers, chocolate, lingerie, sex and little teddy bears?
The marketing and commercialization of it all seems to imply that love is only about erotic passions and material romantic gestures.
For some of us it has become Single Awareness Day. Let’s start a singles’ revolution. We are created for love and if you want love, then may I suggest that we celebrate this day by becoming a genuine gift. Our creed and battle hymn: “Come to know Love, give Love and be Love.”
Let me elaborate a bit.
God is love. We are His sons and daughters, and here on earth we are laborers in His vineyard: His hands and feet. Draw close to Love: Christ, his mother, Mary and the Church.
As singles, we all too often dwell on heartache in the past or focus on the wreckage of a future that hasn’t happened.
Trust me. I know it all too well. We fret, worry and lose hope.
So I urge you to have courage! Nurture what you have; don’t dwell on what you don’t. The very next chapter of the book of your life may have a spouse in it. Are you ready? How are you preparing yourself?
This is the single most shocking question that changed my attitude and life as a Catholic single. I was told, “You can travel all around the world and change lives in every continent, but if you are not doing God’s will, you’re missing the bull’s eye. If you are called to be a husband, then do everything you can to be ready to get married. If you’re called to be a priest or brother, then how are you preparing yourself?”
Since then I have been living quite differently.
Instead of posing as a model on a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card – yeah, it’s funny and worthy of an eye-roll, but true; it was about 10 years ago – I am now letting others model for me. I have come to know the greatest Love and want to learn ever more how to model Him.
- I have drawn closer to Christ, especially in the Eucharist. (I have two local parishes that offer 24-hour adoration in addition to their daily Masses!)
- I have made a habit of frequent confessions, of reading the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), and the writings of saints and popes. St. Gianna Molla is now my biggest devotion, especially her book “Love Letters to My Husband,” which I want to live out in my relationships. (Her book is out of print. I just paid $50 for it, but if we all urge the publishers to re-print it we can get it cheaper).
- In addition to these devotions, I have personally been working on my own healing by spiritual direction (sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month), reading uplifting books and learning how I can be more of a man. Recently I have been reading Fr. James Farfaglia’s book and also Fr. Larry Richards’ book about manhood. Soon I will pick up “Wild At Heart: Discovering The Secret Of A Man’s Soul” by John Eldredge. (Actually, since I am challenged in my attention span to read, I will get the unabridged audio version). I also recommend Brené Brown’s Ted.com video on the power of vulnerability. It changed my relationship life.
In all of this, I have been taking steps towards being ready to love a wife, and it has been a full-time job for me, but it’s totally worth it! Best investment I have ever made!
After all, we can’t give what we don’t have. So let me pass on the good advice: nurture love in your heart, in your mind and in your soul. Be prepared.
Know Love, give Love and be Love.
Find three special people or couples and give them a card (handwritten, people – not just an email card!), or a thoughtful gift. For my parents and close friends, I’ve ordered Christian videos, books, and other inspirational gifts that nurture and support true love, not commercialized love. It’s a cause we need to celebrate and support!
Never hesitate to invest in how we love others, as well as love ourselves in the right way. And let’s not let the one day of Feb. 14 be all that inspires you toward giving the gift of love to the important people in your life. Stretch it out to a week, a month, a year – a lifetime!
Instead of hoping to receive love, give it to someone else! You’ll be surprised how easily you can go from Single Awareness Day to being aware of how grateful and loved you already are!
Be the gift. It’s one of the best gifts you can give this Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.
Fasting for the Mrs.
As a single Catholic man I’ve learned to take my future seriously. I pray and regularly fast as a gift and an investment for my future beloved (thanks, E5men.com, for the inspiration). Being an Ephesians 5 man is for anyone – single, married, divorced or consecrated. True love is about sacrifice, as the real beginnings of Valentine’s Day should teach us, honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named St. Valentine.
It began as a day honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named St. Valentine. Men: history reveals that many priests were martyred and sacrificed it all for love of their bride, the Catholic Church. Let us imitate them in being men and being true gifts: the gift of self!
Let’s not get green with envy or paint ourselves red with commercialized love. Don’t be envious of others this day or get caught up in the man or women you don’t have. Instead, start giving spiritual gifts to the man or woman in your future!
Another recommendation: Spend time with other singles friends who may be more prone to being lonely. Or visit elderly friends or relatives who would appreciate a visitor. Call a parent or sibling you haven’t talked to in a while. Invite a co-worker to dinner who may be new in town. Encourage your parents, friends and other couples. Encourage, affirm and recognize what they have and thank them for their witness to you.
Before you know it, you will see that in giving love with others, you will be overwhelmed with the amount of love you receive this Valentine’s Day. Do something! Be the gift to someone.
In closing I offer you my patron for further inspiration, St. Francis of Assisi. The last lines of his famous peace prayer say “Grant Lord that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Come to know Love, give Love and be Love.