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February Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (1st Lt.) Father Samuel M. Gray, assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 8, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (1st Lt.) Father Samuel M. Gray, assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 8, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NAITONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

February 14th we will, once again, celebrate St. Valentine’s Day! It is a day that is considered to be the most romantic day of the year when couples, who have been struck by Cupid’s arrow, exchange cards, chocolates and jewelry. Are you reading this guys...JEWELRY FEBRUARY 14th...mark your calendars! You’re welcome ladies.

            But Valentine’s Day is much more than the exchange of sweets, treats and treasures. It is named after a real person...maybe...either a priest, a bishop or a traveler...maybe even a combination of the three. Truth is we do not really know who St. Valentine was but we do know that all three real and historical accounts of St. Valentine’s life agree he was unjustly accused, arrested, beaten, scourged and beheaded all because of love. Love will make you do some crazy things!

            The three accounts attest that St. Valentine was a man of faith who loved God and loved others. Because of this, he sacrificed a great deal as he cared for those he loved and ultimately chose to die for his ideals rather than deny his love for God and others.

            St. Valentine shows us what it means to really and truly love. Love is more than warm fuzzy feelings. Love simultaneously requires commitment and sacrifice which are often difficult. Whether it is love for an ideal such as love of God or Country, or love for an individual, commitment and sacrifice is always required. That is the message that should be remembered. Such is the love that each of us is called to express in our own life.

            As we reflect this month on all that there is to do, as we sacrifice so much time and effort, let us not forget why we do it. Perhaps it is for our love of Country, or of family, or of God. For whatever reason, we choose to serve, our sacrifice is in vain without doing it out of love. I suggest that each of us should take a moment to once again recall why we do what we do and for whom. It will help to make sense out of the sacrifice we and our families make. Remember, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:12-13). St. Valentine fulfilled this command, and may we do the same for those we love.