Valentine’s Day means many different things to people, but I like to reflect on God’s love. Sometimes we doubt we’re loved by anyone–but if we read the Bible–God tells us repeatedly about his great love for his children. The apostle John explained God’s love like this, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:10, 19). It changed my life as a Christian when I realized it’s not by my strength I love God, or others; but God loved me first, and that gives me the strength to love other people. Pope Benedict explained it well in his first Encyclical Letter,
“He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has ‘loved us first’, love can also blossom as a response within us.”
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
God supplies the love we need to feed the hungry, treat the sick, house the homeless, care for orphans and widows and reach out to the marginalized. That’s why Cross Catholic Outreach believes we must minister to both the physical and spiritual needs of people we serve. We believe in loving, not in our own power, but because he first loved us.
This Valentine’s Day, enjoy the chocolate and flowers, but don’t forget God’s unfathomable love for you. And as you are filled with this amazing love, pour yourself out to those who need it most. Not because you first loved God–but because he first loved you!