February is upon us. The month of heart-shaped candies printed with the classic texts reading “call me,” “soul mate,” and “sweet love.”
Throughout my life, Valentine’s Day has stirred up a variety of emotions in me. Some years it has inspired me to plan a wine and dessert night with my girlfriends, other years it provoked loneliness as I compared my single-self to my dating friends, and now I look at it as an excuse for my husband and I to splurge at our favorite restaurant.
Regardless of how you are feeling about this year’s holiday, there are so many different kinds of relationships to celebrate: grandparents, siblings, spouse, children, friends, and of course, God and our neighbor.
Saint Quotes about Love
Here are a few quotations to inspire some good-natured feelings towards February fourteenth.
Love for Grandparents
While he may not be a Saint, I so appreciate Pope Francis’ respect and admiration for grandparents. Both he and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have placed an emphasis on how important the role of being a grandparent is, both for their own family, and for the generations to come.
“How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogues, especially within the context of the family.” // Pope Francis
“Children’s children are the crown of the elderly, and the glory of children is their parentage.” // Solomon in the Book of Proverbs
Love Within the Home
At least for me, sometimes it can be hardest to be patient, humble, and merciful to those who are closest to me. Those in my immediate family know me best, and in knowing me best, they also have seen my worst and have chosen to love me anyway. I also know it can be a temptation to take those closest to you for granted. These words from the Saints help me refocus on selflessness and gratitude.
“Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.” // Saint Teresa of Calcutta
“You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much on the greatness of our actions nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” // Saint Therese of Lisieux
“The charity which burned in the household at Nazareth should be an inspiration for every family. All the Christian virtues should flourish in the family, unity should thrive, and the example of its virtuous living should shine brightly.” // Saint John XXIII
Motherhood: Physically and Spiritually
The Saints have a lot to say when it comes to motherhood, both spiritually or physically. In Claire Dwyer’s book, This Present Paradise, she writes about how Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity praised the Lord through her simple, daily responsibilities. While we often look for signs, “more likely our path is made of breadcrumbs and fingerprints, pointing the way to heaven in smudges of peanut butter. It’s the little things.” These quotations are a reminder that even in our most hidden moments, we can bring great glory to God.
“Our body is a cenacle, a monstrance: through its crystal the world should see God.” // Saint Gianna Molla
“Women’s bodies, heavy with children, dragged down by children, are a weight like a cross to be carried about. From morning until night they are preoccupied with cares, but it is care for others, for the duties God has given them… The point I want to make is that a woman can achieve the highest spirituality and union with God through her house and children.” // Servant of God Dorothy Day
“Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.” // Saint Josemaria Escriva
"Every woman in the world was made to be a mother either physically or spiritually. Here we are not talking of physical motherhood, we are speaking of spiritual motherhood. A women in professional life is happy when she has the occasion to be feminine. The man is the guardian of nature, but the woman is the custodian of life. Therefore in whatever she does, she must have some occasion to be kind and merciful to others.” // Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Just this past December, Pope Francis wrote a letter specifically to married couples. He encourages couples to live out their “vocation with enthusiasm.” To be joyful. When one’s vocation is lived out well, this is a witness of hope to the world. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man” (CCC 1604).
“Love that leads to marriage is a gift from God and a great act of faith toward other human beings.” // Saint John Paul II
“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.” // Saint Clare of Assisi
“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.” // Venerable Fulton Sheen
“As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.” // Saint Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians
Love Between Friends
Friendship is a gift. Here is what the Saints have to say about it, starting all the way back in the fourth century.
“God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends we will find strength to attain our sublime ideal.” // Saint Maximilian Kolbe
“You only love your friend truly, when you love God in your friend, either because He is in him, or in order that He may be in him. That is true love and respect. There is no true friendship unless you weld it between souls that cling together by the charity poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.” // Saint Augustine
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship” // Saint Thomas Aquinas
Love for God
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux speaks of the four degrees of love. I sometimes still struggle with moving beyond the second degree, which is loving God for your own good and because of your dependence on Him. I am working to be more constantly in the third degree of loving God for His own sake! These Saints remind me to keep striving for this, by reminding me how much God has given to me through His Son.
“When a great suffering or some very little suffering is offered to us, oh, let us think very quickly that ‘this is our Hour’ the hour when we are going to prove our love for Him who has ‘loved us exceedingly.’” // Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
“Pure love…knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love - love, and always love.” // Saint Faustina
“What has He done for me? He has loved me and given me His whole self. What shall I do for Him? I shall love Him and give myself to Him without reserve.” // Saint Ignatius of Loyola
“Our Savior’s passion raises men and women from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.” // Saint Maximus of Turin
Love for Neighbor
In the Gospel of Matthew we are presented with the second commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The next verse goes on to say that the entire law and prophets depend on the first two commandments (the first being to love the Lord). Here, the Saints tell us how.
“We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.” // Saint Vincent de Paul
“If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.” // Saint Katherine Drexel
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” // Saint Augustine
“Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” // Saint Paul in his Letter to the Hebrews
No matter your state in life, I hope you find strength and consolation through these words of wisdom which have been passed on to us. They are certainly better words to cling to than the candy heart words reading “puppy love” and “be true,” but if you happen to find one that says “you rock,” then go ahead and soak it up!
What are some of your favorite Saint quotes about love? Share them in the comments below!