JUSTeach Newsletter

February 2003

St. Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a highlight in February. Despite the commercialism that surrounds it, the holiday’s special message is "love." We know that Jesus said love was the greatest commandment, love of God and neighbor. To truly practice the virtues of justice and peace love must be our motivation and pathway.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1Cor13:1-3)


Sometimes we get so focused on what we are doing we forget to examine how we treat others and how our method of operation affects our students, peers, family members, parishioners, and neighbors. Love reminds us that any social justice issue is for human persons and is not an objective principle that transcends the dignity or rights of human beings; it responds to individuals in need.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1Cor13:4-8)

In other words love allows us to focus on Jesus and his people and to forget our pride, self-righteousness, self-pity, and pettiness. Peace activists believe that together people can create positive change in the world, they hope for a non-violent resolution of differences, and many are willing to endure time spent in prison because of their convictions. Love sustains them as they pay the price for following Jesus.

Here are some materials that may help your students and their families know the plight of millions of people in Africa and Iraq and do something about it. Starvation in Africa is the reality that Catholic Relief Service addresses in "Food Fast." This program is an appropriate solidarity opportunity for use during Lent. The Peace & Social Justice Ministry Office has coordinator packets and videos available, as well as, the document, "A Call to Solidarity With Africa." Phone (815) 834-4028 for a copy. Also, you can download materials from Catholic Relief Services  regarding Iraq: Stepping Toward Peace. 

These resources provide practical ways of living as a loving follower of Jesus. May Jesus and the Holy Spirit fire us with love as we act on behalf of social justice and peace. Happy Valentine’s Day! –Joyce Ruhaak




email us:  peace@dioceseofjoliet.org