Do you have a favorite love quote? There are many, too many to sort through. Quotes by saints, celebrities, historical figures…. the list goes on. And it can be interpreted in different ways – love for family, Christ’s love, love is patient, love is kind, etc. But by far my favorite quote comes from a comedy about a single dad with three daughters at a family reunion on the shore, “Dan in Real Life“.

To set the scene, the dad (Dan) just caught a boy (Marty) with his daughter when the two are not suppose to be together (keep in mind the dad is having romantic issues). Dan drags Marty away and puts him in a car to be sent back to the city. My favorite quote about love comes from the conversation they have:

Dan: Look, I’m not your parent, but I should warn you: love is a dangerous feeling.
Marty: No sir.
Dan: Are you arguing with me?
Marty: No, I’m….It’s just that…[speaks in Spanish]. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an ability.
Dan: Who told you that?
Marty: I made it up, Mr. Burns.
Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an ability.

Well, obviously the kid didn’t make it up, the writers did, but it still made me pause after hearing it the first time. When you think about it, it puts a whole other spin on Valentine’s Day. Instead of celebrating being loved, we are celebrating the ability to love. What a great reminder for this holiday, that just as love is universal, the ability to love is universal. And I see it everyday.

When I think about it, part of my job at Franciscan Mission Service is to observe the love our missioners share with those around them and how those around them share love with our missioners. The ministry of presence is the ability to love.  Then I share that love with anyone following our Facebook, blog, Twitter, etc. Love comes across my desk everyday.

So my question to you this Valentine’s Day is, “How are you able to love?” Unlike the romance we associate with the Hallmark cards and the television specials, this definition of love is in our control.

You can love, you have the ability. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate that.

Anna Robinson serves as a full-time volunteer at the Franciscan Mission Service office as communications associate. She graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in 2011 with a degree in Communication Arts and a minor in Music Composition.  She is currently spending two weeks in South Africa testing our Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip curriculum.