February 2019 Reflection
“I have a song deep in my heart,
and only I can hear it…
Everyone in the whole, wide world
has their own special song ….”
Mattie J.T. Stepanek
1990 – 2004
Today, we remember and celebrate love in honor of a saint named Valentine – a Roman who lived during the 3rdcentury. He was known for sending handwritten notes of kindness to people in need of hope and peace. What is remarkable is that Valentine penned and sent these messages of the heart while he was imprisoned and condemned for his faith.
Today, we also have the opportunity to remember and reflect on a 20th century saint-in-the- making named Mattie – an American teen who lived his almost 14 years on earth celebrating life despite challenges related to a life-threatening disability. Mattie, like Valentine, cherished family and friends, and penned and shared poetry and messages of hope and peace, and shared these passages with his neighbors around the world.
Mattie called his messages Heartsongs, and he left us with seven books filled with his poetry and peace essays. In them, he reminds us to realize our Heartsongs– or our purpose in life, to celebrate that hope is real and peace is possible and life is worthy, and to joyfully “Remember to play after every storm!”
Mattie’s life of purpose would not be overshadowed by his life of challenges from disability, chronic health problems, financial difficulties, bullying, or other obstacles. His messages, and his way of living, inspired by his deep connection with God, can be summed up with his last spoken word, “Yes!”
On this St. Valentine’s Day, let us each pause and reflect on our Heartsong– our purpose from God – and share that with others. Let us choose kindness, and embrace hope, and practice peacemaking, and celebrate life and humanity.
And, let us pray for Mattie’s cause for sainthood.
Director, The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Guild