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By Paul Ainslie, President of SVdP Indy Council

February is a difficult month for many. Winter is getting really boring. The sky is usually gray. Days are getting longer, but not fast enough, and the anticipation of March and spring is on everyone’s mind.

February is also the month of Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love dating back centuries. In fact, the establishment of St. Valentine’s Day on February 14 dates to AD 496. The English transformed the day into an expression of love in the 18th century.

Almost everything we do at St. Vincent de Paul is based on love. This focus comes from the two great commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mk 12:30-31)

The evangelist Mark, who wrote the first gospels some 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, wrote in Greek. The Greek language has at least seven different words for love (as opposed to the one word we use in English). These words include:

  • Philia or a deep friendship
  • Agape, which is a love for everyone
  • Pragma, which is a longstanding love

Mark used the Greek agape in recording the second great commandment, meaning that “love you neighbor” really means “love everyone.” For SVdP, we really believe that our mission is based on love for everyone. We don’t discriminate for any reason, we don’t ask too many questions, and we have faith that service to neighbors in need is why we are here. Like we say in our anniversary motto: 75 years of loving our neighbor. We put our love into action. Whether you donate time, talent, treasure or prayers, collectively we share in the love for our neighbors. And it makes a difference.