What does Jesus have to do with Valentine's Day? Other than the fact that St. Valentine was trying to "be like Jesus" in spreading love among all his early Christian compatriots? Other than the fact that Jesus taught us to always love our neighbors?
"To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)
But what is the full meaning of "love your neighbor as yourself?" To begin to understand the depth of this teaching we need to turn to modern day revelation from Jesus: A Course in Miracles.
First of all, in the Course Jesus starts out by indicating that we are love, and the purpose of the Course is not to teach us how to love more fully but to remove the blocks to the awareness of the overwhelming love we already are:
The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. (ACIM Introduction)
So when we read the Course, absorb the Course, and do the lessons of the Course we do not really become more loving (although that's what it seems like), we actually merely more and more allow our resistance to fall away and allow who we really are to shine forth.
But then Jesus offers an even deeper understanding in the Course. He explains that in reality there is only one being, one mind beneath all surface appearances. So although it appears that you and your neighbor are separate, in reality your neighbor is you. "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Do you think you would love your neighbor more fully if you fully understood that your neighbor is actually you appearing in different form? Could you really afford to attack your neighbor or judge your neighbor if you really knew with certainty that your neighbor is you? In Lesson 181 “I trust my brothers, who are one with me,” Jesus states:
When you attack a brother, you proclaim that he is limited by what you have perceived in him. You do not look beyond his errors. Rather, they are magnified, becoming blocks to your awareness of the Self that lies beyond your own mistakes, and past his seeming sins as well as yours.
If a brother’s sins occur to us, our narrowed focus will restrict our sight and turn our eyes upon our own mistakes, which we will magnify and call our “sins.” So without regard to past or future, should such blocks arise, we will transcend them with instructions to our
minds to change their focus, as we say:
“It is not this that I would look upon.
I trust my brothers, who are one with me.”
Our love for everyone we look upon attests to our remembrance of the holy Self Which knows no sin, and never could conceive of anything without Its sinlessness. (ACIM Lesson 181)
What if Valentine's Day is not what we've always been taught to imagine? What if it's really a holiday, a holy day, because it celebrates in advance the day when we no longer have any blocks whatsoever to the experience of love's presence, the day when our heart is so fully open that a mere glance from us brings change of heart to the cruelest dictator, or healing to the most severely depressed, or courage to one who is fear-ridden, or blessed release to the guilty?
But wait! Why not practice the feeling even now? Why not make a habit of experiencing when waking up from each restful sleep the feeling we can imagine Jesus could have felt when awakening even though he didn't have our modern words:
"Oh God, I love your Way!
Another loving Valentine's Day!"
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"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)
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