Valentine’s Day, a time to show love, is a welcome celebration for today’s world, which is so lacking in compassion and selfless love, according to Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of the Diocese of Oyo, in Nigeria.
Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo – Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria.
Saint Valentine, with whom the celebration is associated, lived a life of selfless and sacrificial love beyond flowers, material gifts, kisses and sex.
Love keeps the world sane
All who celebrate Valentine’s Day should really become agents of authentic, life-giving love in all forms. If Valentine’s Day is about showing and spreading true love, then we all need it. Children, youth, adults, the elderly, the dying and even the dead all need love. No matter who we are, Bishops, priests, pastors, politicians, people in business, civil servants, traders, entertainers, athletes and artisans, young or old, we all need love to remain sane and make everyday life meaningful.
I have not found a better description of love than what Saint Paul wrote in the Bible, in his letter to the Corinthians: “Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but finds its joy in truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never ends” (1 Cor. 13: 4-8).
The healing power of love
That kind of Valentine love is needed in the world today. We need it in our homes; we need it in our churches, mosques and shrines. We need it in our schools; we need it in our streets. We need authentic agents of love in our markets, and we need them in our parks. We need them in our filling stations, businesses, and playgrounds. We need them in our banks where people now suffer for no fault of theirs. We need authentic love in every heart so that our country and world can heal from all our hurts and be sane again.
A vendor sells flowers for Valentine’s Day in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Paul also said: “If I am without love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13: 2). Can we ourselves achieve anything worthwhile and enduring without love? I doubt that we can. This is why I call on everybody to welcome and celebrate Valentine’s true authentic love that is selfless, forgiving, empowering, affirming and life-giving.
Celebrate love every day of the year
Valentine is not just about lovers hanging out in pairs. Valentine is also parents who selflessly care for their children with love. Valentine is celebrated in soldiers and security agents who lay down their life to protect others and their nation. It is Valentine when civil servants serve the public with a genuine sense of duty. Yes, it is Valentine when politicians work to address the true needs of the citizens under their care. Authentic Valentines make a difference in homes, families and in society.
We thus need to celebrate such Valentine Days not only in February but every day of the year to help remake a more just, compassionate, and more loving world. That manner of love will conquer all our greed, selfishness, wickedness, hate, and such love never ends!
So, get right ahead, celebrate a good Valentine’s Day and light up the world, for God is love!