Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine’s Day

Every year, February 14th is celebrated at St. Valentine’s Day. When, at the time of the Second Vatican Council, the calendar of feasts was changed, St. Valentine did not appear on the calendar. Instead, we celebrate the Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

Unless someone happens to have been born in Eastern Europe, Sts. Cyril and Methodius have no meaning. St. Valentine is a much more appealing saint to honour, and yet we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day without sparing too many thoughts for the man himself.

There are all sorts of stories about St. Valentine, but it would seem that he was a bishop who helped three young girls to marry by providing them with the dowry they needed.

All over the world, the 14th February, Valentine’s Day, is celebrated as a special day for those who love another person. We see so many special decorations in shop windows, hear of so many special offers which will help business people to make money out of their customers. All of these offers are supposed to increase the chances of showing someone that they are loved.

Yet, when it comes down to basics, what does love really mean? Is it love to receive expensive presents? Is it love to give magnificent flowers or boxes of chocolates? Does love mean going out for a meal? No. We can do any of these actions at any time and they don’t necessarily mean love at all. They only become signs of love when they are given with love.

Not really. I think that each one of us would say that these might be appreciated signs of love but that real love is something much deeper. Real love is something we cannot put into words because no words can really express exactly what we want to say to the one we truly love. Real love is shown by signs more often than by words.

When there is real love, there is something that is too deep for words. In the olden days, when there was much more talk of “love at first sight”, people simply meant that they were attracted to each other. Attraction, however, is not enough to make a foundation for two people to have a long and happy life together.

Sometimes, when people talk of love, what they are really talking about is the passion that accompanies the first few days of a romance. Passion can be something warm and beautiful, but it is like a flame. It doesn’t last forever. A flame will die if it doesn’t receive a constant supply of fuel. Very often passion is so all-consuming it doesn’t give two people the chance to look more deeply into each other’s hearts.

True love is something that lasts forever. True love demands self-sacrifice, understanding, compassion, kindness, giving and receiving, forgiveness, listening and sharing at every moment of every day. The real demands of love are so great that they can only be fulfilled with someone who is loved totally and unreservedly. True love is a unique gift of God.

Lord, you are Love and the source of love. Today I pray for that most special person in my own life. I pray for all those others whom I also love, that you will be with them at every moment of every day. I pray that you will make me a loving person, so that I might give your love, true love, to the ones I love. I pray for all married couples and for those who are thinking of marriage, that they will know true love and forever. Amen

God bless,

Sr. Janet