Month of love
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2019 - 12:00am

Today is the first day of February, the second month of the year. Since time immemorial, the month of February has been associated with the word “Love”, because during this month we celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14.

This day is universally considered as the day of lovers. It has always been associated with ”love” as symbolized by the heart or  red roses. Hence this is the day when cards featuring attractive and beautiful replica of the heart and/or the alluring red roses are given by sweethearts to each other. Indeed during the whole month of February, business is extremely good for commercial establishments selling these items on expressions of love, as well as for most restaurants, hotels and motels where sweethearts and lovers celebrate.

In fact during a recent Valentine’s Day, I received a card from my wife Josefina S. Sison which I found quite unique.  Unique and quite conspicuous not only because it was extraordinarily bigger than the usual greeting cards but also because of the very different and peculiar message that I read, which says “So what if today is Valentine’s Day, Is there anything special? – nothing. Right away I thought that my Josie is mad at me for something wrong I have done, and I felt guilty. Somehow she was conveying her deep sentiments on how I had taken for granted and even ignored such occasion for so many years since we tied the knot. But my sense of guilt turned into elation and delight when I saw her endearing handwritten message in the succeeding page of the card which reads: “coz we made every day happier than this day.”

There is really no compelling or even valid reason not to celebrate Valentine’s day. It is admittedly a special day and a propitious occasion for two people in love to assure each other of being the “one and only”. Even without Cupid and his arrow or all those cards and commodities supposedly conveying love, it is the best time for lovers and sweethearts – particularly married couples – to express their “love” for each other.

It must be pointed out however that this modern day concept of “love” is not the real meaning of the word. It is merely conceived out of pure commercialism. It is a concept that considers love as a mere emotion arising from purely human feeling of affection and fondness especially between a man and a woman. Clearly this kind of commercialized love is a self serving emotion that is currently being exploited purely for business purposes.

True love is more than just a feeling or emotion. It is an act of the will that involves self-sacrifice and the determination to abide by each other under any and all circumstances. It is a decision utilizing both heart and mind not only for one’s own good but also and more importantly for the good of the one whom he/she supposedly “loves.”

Love as a mere feeling or emotion is largely self-centered. It breeds pride, envy, jealousy, hatred, contempt and even irrational distrust. On the other hand, love that simultaneously involves the heart and the head is mainly “other centered.” It develops patience, kindness, humility, generosity, goodness, continence and chastity. This kind of love is best described by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (13: 9-10) as follows: “Love never wrongs the neighbor, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

The real meaning of love is amply demonstrated by the Saint whose feast is celebrated on Valentine’s day, Feb. 14 – St Valentine. His name Valentine means valor. He was a holy priest beheaded on Feb. 14, 269 in the midst of the persecutions perpetrated by Emperor Claudius II of Rome. He was enticed to renounce his Christian faith. But when the enticements turned out to be ineffective, he was beaten and tortured to death. He became the “Patron of Lovers because for many centuries, lovers have effectively appealed to him for courage and strength when faced with difficulties and hardships.

And so, the month of February is really quite important and momentous for us Filipinos because this is the month we can resolve to continue observing true love that manifests itself particularly on Valentine’s Day. It is more imperative to celebrate Valentine this year because of the sad and unfortunate events happening to our country now. Indeed, this month of love appears to be more useful for us during these times so we can focus our attention and continue to realize and to be still proud that: we are the only country that persists and strives to preserve and strengthen marriage and family any and all circumstances especially separation from each other for a long time because of need to work abroad; we are the only country where family members continue to respect and take care of their elders, especially the sick and the infirm, instead of just dumping them in nursing homes or homes for the aged; we are the only country where the greater number of husbands and wives continue to live together in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, and to observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.

Filipinos are indeed known worldwide to be faithful and true to their commitments especially to marriage vows. So the renewed proposal to enact a divorce bill will definitely undermine this reputation. This admirable trait will cease to exist if divorce is legalized here because couples who are striving to preserve their union will be given the easy way out thus opening the floodgates to more broken marriages like what is besetting and plaguing other countries. When divorce is legalized here, love will really become mere feeling and emotions, and no longer a decision for mutual love, respect and fidelity.

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