Somewhere in the bottom of a trunk lies my valentine from Donny Murphy. I picked it out of the paper sack that our teacher passed around the room, thus ensuring that everyone in the class both submitted and received a valentine. Since I had a major crush on Donny, getting his valentine made my second grade year. While, even at the ripe old age of seven, I realized that Donny didn’t actually give me the valentine, it was enough to have one with his name on it.
Last year I wrote in this blog about the valentines we give to God in the form of prayers of adoration. (See “A Valentine for God”) Since it is an act of love, it works the other way, too. Nevertheless, it might be trickier to recognize the valentines God sends to us. Caught up in the hectic pace of a day’s work or the anxieties, fears, and tensions that upset our equilibrium, we bypass the little signs and wonders that God gives to show us a love that pulses with beauty and longing. Maybe we all need to reach into a paper sack now and then in order to pull out a reminder of the grace of a simple valentine.
My own go-to bag of God’s valentines includes the beautiful words and images from Psalm 139. “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (vs. 13-14). On those days in which I feel less than lovely, the thought of being part of God’s handiwork lifts me up.
There are other love notes as well ~ the rose-tinted dawn that greeted me this morning, the soft purring of my cat nestled beside me while I journaled, the sweet flavor of spiced tea. Each is a small reminder of a world that is full of wonderful sensations, all given and graced by a God who could have chosen, instead, a black-and-white creation devoid of poetry, music, and the artful dance of life. All we need is to reach into the bag and allow ourselves to be surprised by its infinite blessings.
Invite the children in your class or family to write a valentine from God. Discuss together how God shows his love to us in ways we often overlook.
The Rosary is a beautiful prayer that allows us to meditate on the love of God through the Mysteries of Christ’s birth, life, death, and Resurrection.
Download my Valentines from God and pass them out to your class or family, or use them as daily reflections on the grace of God’s love.