13 February 2009

Everyday is Valentine's Day

As Valentine's Day approaches, it seems appropriate to remark on this holiday from a Christian viewpoint. The various legends about St. Valentine all point toward themes of love. Surely the "real" St. Valentine -- whoever he was -- was a holy man whose virtue was motivated by a sincere love of the Lord and of his fellow men.
It is no secret that this religious observance of a saint has evolved into a widespread secular holiday celebrated with gifts of flowers, chocolates, conversation hearts, balloons, and many other media which all beg the recipient to "Be My Valentine." It might be said that when someone agrees to be a "valentine" she -- or he -- agrees to give her heart to the beloved giver of the chocolates, or candy hearts or flowers, etc.
The act of giving over one's heart, however, should not be a once a year affair for the serious Christian! In fact, we might say that every day is Valentine's Day. The moment on the seashore when Peter and Andrew and James and John left their nets and their livelihood to follow the Lord was, perhaps, the first "Valentine's Day" as these men gave their hearts to the Lord forever in that one action of leaving all things to follow Him. For each of us, let us examine our pilgrim journey and recall the day when the Lord captured our hearts; for we may look upon that as a kind of "Valentine's Day" in our own love affiar with the Lord. There may not have been chocolates or flowers or conversation hearts, but surely there was something which drew us to his Most Sacred Heart. And this same heart awaits us daily. The Lord invites us, each day, to be his "Valentine" and give him our hearts once more.

"O when we hear this divine Heart, as it sings with a voice of infinite sweetness the canticle of praise to the divinity, what joy, what efforts of our hearts to spring up to heaven that we may ever hear it! And truly this dear friend of our hearts invites us to this. Arise, make haste, leave yourself and take flight towards me, my dove, my beautiful, unto this heavenly abode, where all is joy and nothing is heard but praises and benedictions."
St. Francis de Sales

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