Tony Bottagaro, a friend and colleague, has made his life’s work to do what he can to “Create a World More Human and More Divine” because it is in the roots of our humanity that we find love. He declares in The Universal Declaration of a World More human and More Divine that it is time “to hear, see, and understand that we are One People, and so whatever we do to one another, we do to ourselves, which at times leads to unrest, grief and sorrow. Thus, to uplift our spirit, mend our broken heart and break the chains that bind our mind, we acknowledge and confirm that unconditional love is the one enduring solution to all of life’s challenges and problems, global or personal.”
Jesus Christ’s two major commandments was to love God with all your heart and soul and to love your neighbor as you would yourself. The two commandments are the foundation of his ministry and point to the basis for the Christian doctrine and the starting point for believers to take on life as a community.
Christ died for his teachings and in doing so, founded an institution of believers that took his ministry to all corners of the world. On February 14, 269, Saint Valentine was executed for practicing Jesus’ teachings and defending his belief in the power of love.
The irony of his death is that only 56 years later the Nicene Creed and the Holy Trinity was adopted by the Christian Church in response to a call from the Roman Emperor Constantine. The result was that Christianity became the official religion of the Empire.
One of the idiosyncrasies associated with all of our civilizations is that they are built and understood from the perspective of opposites. Nothing makes sense without the continuum from a concept or idea all the way to its opposite.
Perhaps the reason for this phenomenon is that human beings above all on earth are empowered to make choices and choices can not really be meaningful without differentiation. Whatever the case, love does have a popular opposite: hate.
Hate in our divided country is running rampant as people look more to our differences than to what we have in common. Our churches have been politicized to the point that hypocrisy and pretending to love while hating your fellow man rules the day.
That is exactly what Christ came to change when he took on groups like the Pharisees that insisted on righteousness from every one else but not themselves. In some sense, the message of love was very much directed at their character.
February 14, 2019 represents the 1750th anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death. The Saint Valentine Day celebration however, did not begin until 496 CE, 1523 years ago.
Our country is undergoing great changes especially in our social and political relationships given the way technology has affected how we communicate. There is no doubt that technology and instant communications has greatly increased our awareness of each other and the things we like and dislike.
Nevertheless, somewhere in our being, our love and humanity continues to resonate with our religious principles. Somewhere in our being, the temporary advantage that may come from caring less for others may be felt as unworthy.
Saint Valentine’s Day is a day to express love and friendship and is celebrated with the sweet smells and tastes of our traditions. Let us not forget however, that love is also the foundation what is to be “Human and Divine.”