Before Big Business exploited the commercial value of February 14th by selling cards, candy, candles, and flowers*, the day honored St. Valentine — a Roman priest who secretly married couples when the emperor had forbidden his soldiers to marry. For this, Valentine was executed. His feast day was meant to remind us that the call to love transcends political regulations.
The concept of love has evolved, always expanding. From love of immediate family and tribe, it broadened to loving those beyond tribal members, provided they were friends. Jesus expanded the concept to include enemies — a challenging concept even today. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” became an accepted goal of most religions. Modern science introduced us to a vast and interconnected creation that has been evolving for aeons. Many discovered that their surroundings were not a collection of objects, but rather a communion of subjects — as Thomas Berry stated it. Nothing can be isolated from the whole. Science has also shown us the power of love. No “other,” of whatever religion, color, or nationality, is separate from us, and those in need deserve preferential care.
Here are some challenging quotes to ponder about the kind of love needed in our time. Important notes on Valentine’s Day gift-giving follow*:
Jesus of Nazareth
As found in Matt. 5: Love your enemies! … If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that ….
As found in John 13: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:
Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.
Love is a sacred reserve of energy; it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.
Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
Your favorites? Please add other quotes (women’s needed!) in Comments. Thanks!
If you give cards, candy, candles, or flowers, live your love this way:
- Cards: Make sure paper is recycled or from sustainable sources. This protects forests, a vital contributor to reducing global warming. Recycled things reduce waste and pollution. Also, recycle the ones you receive.
- Candy: Give chocolate labeled Fair Trade. Cacao farming done improperly strips the world of hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest. More than 15,000 child slaves work on cacao farms in west Africa. Fair Trade guarantees social justice, environmental protection, and economic development.
- Candles: Avoid paraffin, which is the byproduct of gas and oil refineries and will emit pollutants and carcinogens.
- Flowers: Give Fair Trade flowers. Conventional workers are often exploited to keep costs low, leading to severe abuse and mistreatment. (Mega farms in South America mostly employ women, often for long hours and low pay, including unpaid overtime. Some have been accused of using child labor.) The work can result in repetitive stress injuries and exposure to pesticides and herbicides, including known carcinogens. The not-fair-trade farms suck up local water and leave behind toxic chemical residues.