Editor’s Note: Over the next 10 days, you’ll be exposed to a pot-pourri of themes. First, I’ll do a series on St. Paul’s famous Ode to Love. But connected to that, a group has selected Valentine’s Day to draw attention to violence against women world-wide, so I will be incorporating that as well. But to complicate things further, Lent begins the day before Valentine’s Day (the 13th), with its traditional Mardi Gras celebration running up to that. It will be confusing and hopefully a bit of fun, too. So, let’s start with this . . .
Many of us are thinking of our Valentine’s these days — our lovers, intend-eds, spouses, classmates, mothers . . . At least Halmark would have us “send the very best.”
So, what is love?
I’ve officiated at the marriages of many young couples over the 44 years of my priesthood who’ve chosen St. Paul’s Ode to Love for their wedding Mass.
It has got to be one of the most wonderful pieces of prose of all time.
Take the time to take it in and see how you measure up.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It is not jealous,
Love is not pompous,
it is not inflated,
it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.
I Corinthians 13
You are Love itself.
We give you thanks for the people in our lives who have loved-us-into-the-persons-we-are.
We rejoice in them and remember them in love.
But so many of us are wounded because we have not experienced the parental love
that would allow us to know and experience how to love.
Help us take your servant Paul’s words to heart that we may understand the true meaning of love.
May we have a heart that is open to all persons, all of life, all of the universe.
To You Lord, be glory and praise, now and forever.
Thank you for a moment of thankfulness in my life for the gifts of love I’ve enjoyed.