Love- a wonderful thing

Hey guys, hope you're all well?

So Valentine's day was two days ago and as it is every year, you have the people who are super excited to celebrate it with their loved ones- I can't tell you how many  snapchat "aww, he got me 100 roses" videos I've watched along with several instagram posts of couples wishing themselves a happy Valentine's day- and then you have the people who are all about "Valentine's day is just corporate bullshit, why do you even need a day to celebrate love"; I won't lie, I used to be one of those girls a few years ago but to be honest I was just bitter that I didn't have a valentine (so tragic I know). However, as I've grown up and matured I've come to realise that I don't necessarily need to go on a date or get lovely presents for me to enjoy the 'special day of love'. Don't get me wrong, it would be nice to do the whole romantic date thing but as of right now I'm content with being surrounded by the special ones I currently have in my life and those are my family and my friends. And of course, I will always have the special love and grace of God.

As most of you know, this year Valentine's day also fell on Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of the lent season. I think it's so fitting that on the day we celebrate love, we also begin the 40 day journey with Christ which ultimately ends in him sacrificing himself and dying on the cross for our sins- I mean, could there ever be a greater love than that?! That right there is THE definition of unconditional love- that despite our sinfulness, imperfections and weaknesses, we are still loved so much by Him that he was willing to die for us and that God was so willing to sacrifice His only son for our salvation. Sometimes when I take a step back to reflect on the magnitude of this loving sacrifice, I am truly filled with awe and it moves me to tears because I think to myself "who am I to deserve all of this?!" It's no wonder why we say God IS love itself and no matter how loved we are by human standards (that is, by our friends, family or other halfs), it will never amount to the love God has for us. I don't  think we could ever love as God or Jesus loves, and I don't even mean it in a rude way or in a way that disregards human love but I just think how many of us could truly sacrifice so much in the name of love?

Speaking of sacrifice, in my opinion that is one of the key components of love (human or spiritual) because how can we truly say we love someone whilst still being selfish/self serving? How are we able to give our loved ones or God our attention if all we think about is ourselves? Sometimes in love, you do things you don't necessarily want to do in order to make the other person happy -and NO, I don't mean it in that toxic way of having to give up your dreams or neglect your health and well being- it's the little things like paying attention and listening to your loved one talk about their day or something that they're passionate about even if it is 'boring' to you or giving up some of your 'me' time to be in the company of those who love and need you.
This theme of sacrifice is one that is central to the whole lenten season- we are called to do three things which are prayer, fasting and almsgiving and I think sacrifice ties well with each of these things.

Most of us give something up for lent and the whole idea is to sacrifice something that you really love or 'can't live without' for the 40 day period and that in itself is a means of fasting. I am obsessed with listening to music, anyone who knows me know this- I listen to pretty much all genres and I always have to have my headphones in whenever I'm doing anything, I swear if I could wear them in the shower I would and whilst listening to music is great the fact that I've gotten to the point where I feel like I can't do any task without music in my ears just didn't sit well with me anymore. I don't have any quiet moments of reflection or allow any message God might have for me to even flow into my mind because I'm just surrounded by noise constantly. Therefore, after weeks of wondering what to give up for lent I finally decided to stop being stubborn and give up listening to music for the 40 day period and more than that to allow myself to have more quiet moments with God. Listening to music should be fun you know! Not something I use as some crutch to get through menial tasks and I certainly shouldn't be acting like its oxygen or the elixir of life.

Apart from giving up something , lent is also a time for us to reconnect with God and get closer  to him especially if we've somehow drifted away or if we haven't made time for Him in our 'busy and hectic' lives- I always see it as a kind of 'second new year', a chance to start again with Him you know? This is also a time for us to be loving to each other- not just our loved ones but our neighbours, even those we don't necessarily like and most importantly the less fortunate in our society, the sick, the housebound etc. Is there someone who has hurt you that you haven't let go and forgiven yet? Free yourself from that anger and let go, as my priest says it's not for them it's for you (and God obviously) and he also says what's the point in holding on to that anger and being miserable while the person who has offended you could care less and is getting on with their lives? 
Overall, during this lenten season I urge you to immerse yourself in sacrificial love, make more time for God and allow him to transform your heart, be more patient with others and forgiving of others faults (I know its HARD but just think God forgives our transgressions so it's only right we forgive others aye?), be more giving to those who are most in need in our society and remember to do it with love in your heart after all, God does love a cheerful giver!

I pray that God guides each and everyone one of you in your individual journeys this lent.

Thanks so much for reading, until next time 
Take care and God bless xoxo

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.



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