The Greatest Valentine of All:
Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR, Most Blessed Sacrament Friary, Newark, NJ
Love is a word that is bigger than mere romance. And yet there is something in romantic love that more keenly captures the heart. Paternal or maternal love, filial or fraternal, even spousal love—which cannot always be romantic—are more enduring kinds of love. They are loves that walk us through life, foundational and structural loves, highly important in practice and reception.
We know that God loves us paternally, like a father. Jesus is our friend and brother, and so we experience his steadfast support and presence. Even the Holy Spirit loves us, encouraging and inspiring us over the long haul.
But do you ever encounter God’s romantic love? If not, I have to say, it’s important that you do. Romantic love is quicker, more sudden, shorter lasting but more impacting. It is the love that pierces the heart and captures the imagination. This encounter is behind all those overbearing converts that won’t stop talking about Jesus and the Church and the Eucharist, and they won’t stop because they simply cannot, because they’ve fallen in love, and when we do that, we want everyone to fall with us!...
The scriptures give us no shortage of evidence that God will pursue us, that he will court us, and the word seduce us is even used. Christmas is the story of a lover decidedly throwing himself into the life his beloved. God puts himself in a position of radical closeness to the one he loves and begins to woo, to seduce by his presence, by his words and his life. He now touches us, speaks closely to us and desires to take us unto himself so that we may live together forever.
He is anxious to love you romantically, to surprise you and win you; you have only to let him do it. If you have not yet experienced this side of him, I would say, ask for it, expect it, and don’t be afraid when it actually happens. For then you will learn two very important truths: Jesus is real and alive, and he loves you personally, whoever and wherever you are, and he loves you a lot. And if you allow it, this will change your life.
Pax et bonum