Saturday, February 12, 2011

Father Valentine

Just had the privilege of an interview with Michael Dixon, host of "The Bishop's Hour," which is a local-interest radio show produced here in Phoenix by Immaculate Heart Radio.
SPOILER ALERT! If you want to wait to hear the interview afresh, it will be on Monday, February 14th, at 10 am on 1310 AM in Phoenix.
But otherwise, I'll tell you what we spoke about: Love, baby, love (In honor of Valentine's Day). He asked about my experiences working with young couples preparing for marriage, as well as my work with college students. My basic refrain was this: as a Catholic priest, I encourage young people to embrace the greatness of love. In a youth culture in which dating is non-existent because emotional and physical promiscuity is the norm, young people need great encouragement.
Of course, the greatness of love between a man and woman is demands the greatness of commitment, sacrifice, and selflessness. As I told Michael, many young people either don't know this, or fear it. I feel I spend half my time with engaged couples speaking about what marital love is...and the other half of my time telling them not to be afraid of how great love really is. When I speak to engaged couples of the Church's vision for conjugal love, I usually see on their faces equal parts hope, fascination, and fear...that it's simply too great, beyond them.
Once a young man who was considering a vocation to the priesthood said to me: "Father, don't know if I could be a priest. I love marriage too much."
My response surprised him, I think, as I shot back: "Good! Priests need to love marriage more than anyone else. I spend a great deal of my life encouraging young men and women to love marriage as much as I do."
After all, St. Valentine was a priest, wasn't he? Happy Valentine's Day, all.

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