This morning I visited one of our nursing homes to offer the Holy Mass with the residents and was blown away by an encounter with one particular gentleman.
Yes, today is Valentine’s Day, a time to be romantic and say all kinds of mushy, lovey-dovey kind of things. It’s an occasion for dates, cards, chocolates and, for some men in particular, the one day of the year they will sit down with their wives and watch a romantic-comedy.
However, for this gentleman from the nursing home, today will not bring any of those things. None of them could capture what is in his heart. You see, today is the anniversary of his wife’s death.
Knowing this, I went and spoke to the man to say a prayer with him for his wife. Afterwards, one of the most beautiful and inspiring things happened. I gently asked him how long it’s been since she passed, hoping to learn a little bit more about who she was. His response was this:
Father, it’s been six years since she passed … and I miss her every single day.
After this, a few tears rolled down his cheek. There was nothing more that could be spoken, the love that was in this man’s heart was visible right there before me. More important than any details of who his wife was or what she did, was the love that bound these two together … and still does … and will into the next life.
As I said goodbye and walked away, I felt in my heart so strongly the desire TO LOVE like that and BE LOVED like that. Obviously, as a priest, the mode will be different, as will it before for others who are not married, but the basic desire of the human heart is so simple, TO LOVE and BE LOVED.
Perhaps, this Valentine’s Day it would be good to consider:
1. How blessed we are to have family and friends to love and be loved by.
2. If a loved has passed away, perhaps we should give thanks to God for that deep feeling in our hearts that will never let us forget them nor ever let us be entirely separated from them. This love, no matter how painful it can be, is the greatest treasure we can ever possess. It means that we got it, we know how to love as God does. And this kind of love cannot be destroyed, not ever, not even by death -it is divine. One day, in the Lord, the lover will be reunited their beloved one.