I just had the world’s briefest prayer session.
I do some work at my parish, and I have an office here. So I have the advantage of having access to a Blessed Sacrament chapel right here in the building. I drop in often when I’ve got a problem to work through or a question only He can answer….or, in this case, an article to write.
I wanted to write about singles and Valentine’s Day. I’ve written on the subject several times before, including an article for CatholicMatch way back in 2005.
The approach I took back then was that of course singles hate Valentine’s Day, but that the rest of the world isn’t so crazy about it either. It’s a feelings-on-command kind of day, where expectations are high and romance is required. And most relationships here in the real world just can’t measure up year after year.
Yes, even if he went to Jared. Sometimes Jared just isn’t enough.
Nice insight, even worth repeating briefly here. But I didn’t want to just re-hash an old article. I wanted some new insight, something deeper than the standard “Valentine’s Day is about all kinds love” speech that we singles usually get.
And so, instead of going to Jared, I went to Jesus.
I went into the freezing cold chapel (it’s been a little chilly here lately), I knelt down in a half-huddled position, and I asked for His peace and protection. Then I asked for the grace to pray in His heart – to really see what He sees.
And this is what immediately came to my mind: “They lament being alone when I am right beside them, longing to give them my love.”
Yeah, that works.
Seriously, I don’t know if that was the voice of God speaking to my heart or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit or just a really good insight at a really opportune time.
Whatever it was, I knew it was what I needed to hear, what you all need to hear, and what I want to share. So I thanked him profusely, left the chapel and here I am, typing.
Beyond the cliché
I am well aware that “Jesus loves you” is perhaps the most overused cliché in the entire English language. And it’s probably not what we want to hear in the midst of our annual Valentine’s Day Pity Parties.
“It’s not the same,” we say. “I don’t want platitudes. I want romance. I want passion.”
No, it’s not the same.
The love of a physical, finite, limited human spouse is nothing like the love of the immortal, all-powerful Creator of the Universe – although they are apparently similar enough that He described His love in marital terms. But since we don’t have the spousal love, we might as well spend some time contemplating the Divine love.
Here’s what we don’t get: He really loves us. He longs for us. He waits for us to come to Him. He’s right there, dwelling within us, waiting for us to turn our attention to Him. He died for His love for us. And He’s still with us today, constantly acting in our lives, doing big and small things that remind us of His love for us.
He gave us our families and our opportunities and our health and our lives. He made grass smell sweet after it’s been mowed, so we could bask in the scent. He finds us good parking spaces.
We’re at home feeling sorry for ourselves on Valentine’s Day because we want someone who is crazy, head-over-heels in love with us. We want someone who can’t stop thinking about us, someone who always looks out for us and leaves us little surprise gifts and misses us when we’re away.
And yet, we have exactly what we want – and so much more – right there beside us the whole time. We aren’t alone. He’s there, just waiting for us to acknowledge Him, to thank Him, to love Him in return.
Maybe that’s what we all need to do this Valentine’s Day. Go to Him. You can visit Him at His place – your local Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Or you can invite Him to your place.
Either way, create some quiet time and a peaceful atmosphere. Clear your mind, light some candles, turn off the phone. Then ask God for His peace and protection. Thank Him. Ask Him for the grace to pray within His Heart. Ask Him to help you to somehow know His love for you, in whatever way He wishes to show it to you.
You might spend some time reading something about His love – parts of the Gospel of John, or a few passages from He and I by Gabrielle Bossis (a classic on the intensely personal love of God.)
And then just listen. You may hear something or feel something very distinctly. You may not.
You may experience something very subtle. You may not.
But whatever happens, you will have spent time with the One who loves your more than any Valentine ever could. And that will change you.
And when people start to ask what’s different about you, you’ll know what it is.
You went to Jesus.