Ah, February, the month of “LOVE”!
…or at least Madison Avenue would like us to think a lot about love, and with those thoughts of love, think about buying gifts, jewelry, cards, sweets, dinner out, etc. (I even think I saw an ad for a Valentine’s Day gift of pajamas)….to show our love for that “someone special”, on St. Valentine’s Day.
This year, February 10th also marks the beginning of Lent… and we, as Episcopalians, observe Holy Lent by committing ourselves to 40 days of preparation as we look toward Easter…these are typically spiritual disciplines that help us grow closer to God.
Lent…Love…Valentine’s Day?? In the immortal words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”
Personally, I happen to think Lent is ALL about Love.
( ‘Not so sure about Valentine’s Day, as my oldest says, ” It’s just another Hallmark Holiday dreamed up a to sell more cards and gifts!”)
A few months ago, I noticed a co-worker of mine at the shop had started to behave differently at work than he had for the last year. He seemed to be calmer, happier, (not so angry or argumentative), he was (on his own initiative) helping others, and didn’t seem to have a complaint about anything…totally the opposite of what I’d observed over the last year. Curious at this change in his demeanor, I asked him one day, what had happened in his life that would bring about this radical change in his outlook each day. (Not that I was complaining!)
He replied, “I’m in love, and she’s in love with me too…and her love makes me want to be the best person I can be, every day.”
In Lent, we are preparing our hearts for the greatest gift of love from God: Jesus Christ…we are clearing out any obstacles that might stand in the way of the mutual relationship of love between us and God- anything that might stop that love from flourishing within us- and shining out through us to others. Somewhat like my co-worker, we “…want to be the best person we can be, every day.”
When we love someone, we want to be as close as we can be to that person…we want to know everything about them, we want to please them…So, in Holy Lent-during the 40 days of preparation – we prepare our hearts to receive the unfathomable love of the Risen Christ-and we practice the spiritual disciplines that help us to be the best we can be for the One who loved us first…
And, THAT’S what LOVE has to do with it, Tina!
Fr. Pedro Arrupe says it so beautifully in his poem:
Fall in Love
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
 from 1.31.16 All Souls’ Announcements regarding Lent