"To be happy, what you need is not an easy life
but a heart which is in love."
- St. Josemaria Escriva
When we express gratitude, we let pure love pour out from deep within our hearts. It is an expression of love that is genuine and vulnerable. The kind of love that can choke us up when trying to get the words out, be a tearjerker, and the kind that requires us to swallow our pride. Yet, it is the kind of love that sets your heart free and provides healing and unexpected happiness. It is the kind of love that melts the hardest of hearts. It is beautiful.
St. Josemaria simply, but powerfully sums up what it means to be happy. One does not need an easy, care-free life without tribulations, no. It is a life with all its struggles and joys, experienced with a heart which is in love that brings happiness. You may be thinking, "Yes! Another reason to hate Valentines day!" No, because a heart which is in love, means to love each and every person in your life. To love God, to love yourself, to love strangers, and to love especially those least among us. A heart that is truly "in love" is a heart that is large enough to express sincere love to each person it encounters.
When we communicate our love to one another, many times it is revealed in gratitude. Part of being happy means valuing the lives of others and being grateful for each life placed in our own lives.
To express heart-felt gratitude is choosing to love, therefore, choosing happiness.
Let that sink in.
I thought this subject would be perfect for Valentines day because Valentines day is most likely one day in particular whom those in a state of singlehood are the least grateful. Whether intentional or not, it can happen even to the best of us. We all want to be "in love" with someone, and someday that day may come, however, we each have the call to have a heart in love with not just one, but all. That starts now. Valentines day is not just for those who are married or in a relationship, it is a day for all to express gratitude and love and celebrate the lives of everyone in our life. Those of us who are single, let's be grateful for our family, our friends, and our own lives. Let's spend today, and every day onward, communicating our gratitude and love in word and deed to those around us. Let's be a blessing to those who have been a blessing to us, and especially so if they haven't.
Sure, indulge in a sappy love movie with some ice cream tonight, I may join you. Nevertheless, let's not forget St. Josemaria's wise words, "To be happy, what you need is not an easy life but a heart which is in love."
That begins with gratitude.
Food for pondering:
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell."
- C.S. Lewis
Happy St. Valentines Day!
Con amore in Cristo,