Heartbroken, but blessed in Christ’s love

February 13, 2018

For me, Valentine’s Day in sixth grade was about receiving candy grams. My friends and I would see who got the mushiest messages and the best kinds of candy. I eventually matured, and the message of Valentine’s Day deepened. It wasn’t about candy anymore, but it was about relationships.

For me, it was about the cute girl I liked in high school. I was enamored by her, and I would day dream about how much I “loved” her. It was through the lesson of experiencing heartbreak where I learned a hard truth. I did not really know what love was. I still had a lot to learn.

Adolescence can be a joy-filled and exciting time, but it can also be complex and complicated. For a teenager, it is a time of searching for his or her identity. This exploration is healthy and can be very beautiful if done with, in and for God. On the other hand, this discovery can be painful when God is forgotten, ignored, or rejected.

When I was a teenager, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God…Only in God will [man] find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for (CCC, 27).” I needed to be searching for Love Himself (See 1 John 4:8).

The Catholic Church is full of holy men and women who are models of faith. These extraordinary people give us examples of how beautiful life looks when God is the center of it. We know little of St. Valentine, but what we do know is inspiring. We know he converted many people. We know he never renounced the faith, even under persecution. We know he was real, and the legends confirm that St. Valentine was a martyr. He showed us by his life that love endures all things. Love never fails. Love means fidelity and sacrifice.

At the age of 14, my heart was broken and I felt like my whole world was turning upside down. My world was going to be fine, but at that time, I felt like everything came crashing down. It was the adults and peer leaders in my youth group that came to my rescue. They did not tell me what to do. Instead, they patiently listened to me. They did not judge me. Instead, they lovingly accepted me. They did not leave me alone when I was looking for support. Instead, they joyfully accompanied me where I was in my life.

It was through their witness of God’s love that I was able to heal. I was broken, but I was not defeated. My faith community gave me hope in the Gospel. † #blessed #valentinesday2018

Dunn Estacio is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.