February is a month dedicated to love, and there are many saints’ feast days that point to God’s love for his children. Perhaps the most famous saint is Saint Valentine, celebrated on …
February is a month dedicated to love, and there are many saints’ feast days that point to God’s love for his children. Perhaps the most famous saint is Saint Valentine, celebrated on Feb. 14, who was a bishop and offered up his life to help people.
Saint Valentine was a priest and doctor who lovingly cared for the persecuted Christians around 270 A.D. When the Romans learned about Valentine’s works of mercy and charity towards Christians, they imprisoned him. While in jail, he healed the jailer’s blind daughter and the two became great friends. Before he was beheaded, Valentine asked for paper and pen and wrote her a farewell note, signing it “your Valentine.” February is full of beautiful stories of saints and God’s love for his people.
Another famous story is that of Saint Bernadette, who was visited by our lady at Lourdes, France, on Feb. 11, 1858.
Bernadette was a young teenager from a poor family living in an abandoned prison cell and when she was gathering firewood at the city dump, Mother Mary appeared to her. Our lady brought the message of God’s love and mercy to Bernadette and told Bernadette to ask all to pray for sinners. Which one of us is not a sinner? But we are asked by our blessed mother to pray for one another, which demonstrates God’s great love and mercy towards all his children. At the site of the visitation at Lourdes our blessed mother brought forth a healing spring which is flowing to this day. Many who visit the site experience physical, spiritual and emotional healing.
Another one of my favorite saints in February is Saint Josephine Bakhita, whose feast day is Feb. 8. Bakhita was stolen from her parents in Africa at a very young age and sold into slavery. She was so beaten and traumatized that she did not even remember the name of her family.
Through the slave trade, Bakhita ended up with a family in Italy where she was introduced to Christianity. After her Italian master severely beat her, she was taken in by the local priest. Eventually she went to a convent where she helped care for orphans. When she asked to enter the convent as a sister, she was asked, what would you do if you could meet all the people who have hurt you? Bakhita’s response was “I would kiss their hands and thank them because if it was not for them, I would have never met Jesus.”
Regardless of the mistreatment and injustice she experienced, Bakhita was full of love and charity which demonstrates that the Holy Spirit was strong in her.
The Holy Spirit is the love between God the father and God the son and it is a love that we as God’s children have a hard time understanding. Saint Paul tried to explain it to us in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.”
Is this not a true description of your heavenly father’s love towards you, his favorite child? Our heavenly father does not keep record of our wrongs, he is patient and slow to anger, he is always protecting us and always perseveres in pursuing our love for him rather than being self-seeking. He loves us so much that he died on the cross to save us. He also sent us his Holy Spirit which is the love between him and his only son to fill us with all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
Maybe you didn’t get any candy or flowers during February, but remember that the creator of the universe is madly in love with you. Accept his love and pray, “Come, Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of thy love. Send forth thy spirit and they shall be created.”
(Autourina Mains is a cradle Catholic who was born and raised in the Middle East. She is an Assyrian and speaks the ancient Aramaic language, which was used to write the first five books of the Bible.)