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.
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.
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