Love is the most important thing in our lives. Love should be the foundation for everything we do, think and say. Without love our lives would be so empty and lonely. We need to give and share love, even more than we need to receive love. And this kind of selfless and wonder-filled love cannot and should not be viewed only in terms of red roses, boxes of chocolates, gifts, special dates with our loved ones, and greetings of sweet sayings during this “love” month.

Jesus Christ says that loving God and our neighbors as ourselves is the greatest commandment. His call to each of us is simply TO LOVE. By our lives, however we decide to spend them, we respond to His love. Whatever the situation in our life, we always have a choice as to how we respond to the call to love. And it is in the choices we make that our character is molded.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta put it this way: “The work we do is nothing more than a means of transforming our love for Christ into something concrete.”

The Lebanese philosopher Kahlil Gibran states: “Work is love made visible.”

The choice to love, or not to love, is ours. As we look back and reflect on our lives I am sure that each of us can appreciate how we have grown over time as we have chosen to love and allowed God’s love to take root in us. As we look at and reflect on our growth (or stagnancy, as the case may be) in our character qualities, we can always trace our development back to our choices.

Yet many times it appears that many of us have forgotten how to love, or have chosen to love in the wrong ways, or never learned how to love to begin with, especially once the hype of Valentine’s Day fades away. And there are many people who love only themselves and refuse, either knowingly or unknowingly, to show or share this love with others.

In order to fully love and truly show our love, we must first love ourselves unselfishly, unconditionally. Spend a moment today to give yourself a loving hug, and make time for doing things that make you happy. Listen to music, go for a walk along the seashore, spend some time in meditation and prayer. Play with children. Cook a loving meal for your family. Practice seeing the good in everyone and everything around you; the birds that sing so joyfully in the morning sun always sound so happy, even in the rain! Chat with your neighbor over a cuppa coffee. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Enjoy life and savor the everyday epiphanies that God blesses you with!

Another key to loving is to share with others the things that make you happy. Spread happiness and joyfulness around. Then as you look around you, try to discover what would make someone else happy. Go out of your way to give this happiness as a manifestation of your love, care and concern for them.

Let us choose to love ourselves and others, to live in love, and to share our love, not only on Feb 14 and during this “love” month, but all the year round.

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