BE A VALENTINE: LET LOVE HEAL THE WORLD
Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese BADEJO: Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo
Valentine Day as a time to show love is a welcome celebration for today’s world, lacking so much compassion and love. Saint Valentine, with whom the celebration is associated, lived a life of selfless and sacrificial love which goes beyond flowers, material gifts, kisses and sex. All who celebrate Valentine’s Day should really become agents of authentic, life-giving love in all forms. If Valentine is truly 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, businessmen, civil servants, traders, entertainers, sportsmen 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” (1Cor. 13: 4-8).
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 we need them in our parks. We need them in our banks where people now suffer for no fault of theirs. We need them in our filling stations, in our businesses and in our playgrounds. We need authentic love in every heart so that our country and our world can heal of all the hurts we have and be sane again.
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 celebrate valentine love, true authentic love that is selfless, forgiving, empowering affirming and life-giving.
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, and hate and such love never ends! So get right ahead, celebrate more valentine’s days and light up the world after all… God is love!