Yesterday, amidst the wandering multitude bearing stuffed animals, single flowers, whole arrangements, and balloons, and the father on the bus who handed his son one gummy worm at a time and said "Happy Valentines Day" with each wriggling sweet, I found myself considering love.
It was not the fizzy confection of love that I considered this day of chocolates and promises, but love in action...love within one's community--whether work, friends, family... Love that is sometimes a difficult honor, love that is challenge and grace, love that calls forth, is sustaining, generative, creative, and freeing.
I considered the Love of country that inspired the Egyptian youth to revolution. I contemplated the Love that will bring me to see my father again in the Spring. I recalled again the line in our vow formula..."trusting in the fidelity of God and in the love of my sisters..." I "went out" to friends around the world and offered gratitude for their friendship, their love, that makes me a better person and shows me more about God.
In a moment later in the day, I looked down and saw my ring and cross and was taken back several weeks to the prayer we had the night before our Profession. In that prayer, we each simply held our ring and our cross together, silently. That was the first time I had ever contemplated the two symbols together. In the two is the Complete Love to which I give my life and the Complete Love which I receive and from which nothing can ever separate me.
This is the Love that stretches and challenges, the Love that has no beginning and no end, except in God. Then, I found myself repeating a prayer... May I live as God loves me and may I love as God lives in me... wholly, deeply, widely, freely, and with joy.
Happy Valentines Day, world.