By Bro Moses Catan
“It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:7–8a, 13 NABRE)
Valentine’s Day is usually associated with the romantic notion of love, characterized by scarlet-red flowers, heart-shaped chocolates, cuddly stuffed toys, and cute little Cupids. In my email inbox this year, I have so far received dozens of special offers for Valentine’s Day romantic vacations, movies, ecards, shopping coupons, a “healthy” box of dark chocolates in lieu of “unhealthy” pesticide-laden flowers, relationship books, couple coffee mugs, “I belong to you” couple pillow cases, and a “romantic diamond ring shaped LED lamp.” I even got a Valentine’s Day offer from a diabetes management site for discounts on their glycohemoglobin meters. Sweet!
Amidst this flurry of sweetness and romanticism, it would be good to hear our beloved Pope Francis, considered by many as a tender-yet-radical prophet of our times, on the topic of love and marriage. During his trip to Brazil for World Youth Day 2013, Pope Francis said —
“Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion.... They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision ‘forever,’ because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries. I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love."
I love the imagery and radicality of his statement! Imagine, Pope Francis portrays marital love not in fluffy terms but in terms of revolution! Inspiring, too, is his message that ordinary married couples, by choosing to stay committed to each other for life, are models of true love and heroic rebels in an increasingly “hookup and dump” culture.
So, on this season of love and romance, I would like to echo Pope Francis’ words and challenge all married couples to:
Be old-fashioned and love radically!
Be revolutionary and swim against the tide with Jesus’ brand of lay-down-your-life self-donating love!
Be a rebel against the culture and joyfully renew your “forever” love covenant with your spouse!
March on with your radical love, fellow revolutionaries!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Moses is a Director of Elim Missions and a fulltime servant of the Lord in Elim Communities. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Theology, majoring in Biblical Studies, receiving the honor “Meritissimus” (equivalent of Summa cum Laude), and is currently a doctoral candidate in Biblical Theology at the Loyola School of Theology (Philippines). He is married to Elim Missions Co-Director Dondi Catan. They have three sons.