St. Valentine’s Day is upon us. What was once a day dedicated to the love and sacrifice of a Roman martyr has now become little more than another excuse for every imaginable retailer to sell you heart shaped crap at an inflated price.
If that weren’t bad enough, anyone who is without a significant other will be reminded of that fact with every glance at a television screen, web browser or store window.
Sounds like fun, right?
As an un-married twenty-something Catholic woman, I have to say I’ve been there (somewhat). I’ve lived just almost 24 years of my life without a man to buy me roses, chocolate or (thankfully) Jane Seymour’s Open Heart.
|You know I love you, Dr. Quinn, but your necklace makes me ill.|
Now for the first time in my life I have a boyfriend to celebrate Valentine’s day with. Peachy keen, right? As in, all the longings of my soul and questions of my worth and existence are fulfilled in this one man because that’s what the commercials on TV tell me. Right?
I recently had to face this twisted idea head on when I was feeling particularly worthless and giving into all kinds of Satanic lies about the value of my existence. I’d like to blame my weakened defenses on the emotional instability I was experiencing thanks to the fact that I’m a female, but in reality I just wasn’t turning to God enough with these questions.
Instead, I turned to a man who, although he is kind, compassionate, virtuous, courageous and charming (among other things), is not God. So as I sat in the car weeping and asking him why he was dating me, I became frustrated that no matter what he told me it wasn’t enough.
(In fact, he even told me that very same thing -very kindly- himself, but I was too busy falling into the depths of my despair to hear what he was trying to say.)
A Skype call to my sisters in Rome, lots of prayer, (another) good cry and a jarring conversation with a no-nonsense roommate later, I could see the trap that had been set for me.
It was the same one that had been set when I started a new job, whenever I tried to make new friends, when I went off to college and countless other times; that this thing will give you worth. How well you perform in this will tell you how good you are. These people will tell you how much you are loved.
Lies. Straight from the pit of hell.
No matter how amazing one’s boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/friend/job/house/bank account/ whatever is, it will never fully satisfy our soul’s longing for intimacy and affirmation. There’s only One who can do that. And all He asks is that we love Him with our whole heart.
So, no matter what state of vocational, marital or employment status you find yourself in this Valentine’s Day, remember that nothing can satisfy our hearts like God can. Take this day to pray for the grace to turn to Him with the same zeal that caused that Roman to forsake his own life for Christ so many centuries ago.