Dear Fellow Parishioners,
Happy St. Valentine’s Day! As my letter comes to you a couple days before the actual celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, you still have time to studiously select that just right card, order those overpriced roses or stand in line at See’s to buy the perfect box of chocolates for the love of your life!
Lest engaged couples and others in love become too covetous of St. Valentine, according to Catholic Online, he is also “the Patron Saint of beekeepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, plague, travelers and young people.” That’s a diverse portfolio, so he must be a very busy Saint!
There is little about the life of St. Valentine that can be irrefutably verified, which is why the Vatican removed his name from the General Roman Calendar in 1969. It is certain that he was a martyr, but the details are sketchy while the legends are plentiful. Therefore, the church continues to remember and recognize him as a martyr for the faith. Jesus said that there is no greater sign of love than one’s willingness to lay down his life for a friend, and as a martyr St. Valentine laid down his life for our greatest friend of all, the Lord Jesus.
The various legends of St. Valentine claim that he was imprisoned at various times and places, by various rulers. The reason he is considered the patron saint of engaged couples and others in love probably stems from one legend of his death. It was said that he was imprisoned and eventually killed by a Roman emperor for marrying Christian couples and helping Christians who were being persecuted. A related variation of that legend was that he married Christian couples so the husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. The absolute truth about St. Valentine won’t be known to us in this life, but it seems clear that he wanted to keep couples together at all costs.
The problem with St. Valentine’s Day is that it is limited to just one day each year. Love is a decision we are called to make every day. St. Paul waxes poetic in Corinthians telling us, “Love is patient, love is kind.” What he omits or ignores is that love is a daily decision. Most husbands and wives will readily admit that there are days when they don’t feel very loving or lovable. It is in those moments that we experience that love is a decision that we freely choose to make. Being authentically in love means that we make that decision to love in the good and bad times with equal commitment. As Christ’s ambassadors in a very difficult world, we are called to make the decision to be loving every day.
While having a special day dedicated to love is nice, shouldn’t we focus our attention on celebrating those that we love on a more regular basis? The cards fade, the flowers die and, let’s face it, most of us really don’t need the chocolates. But small acts of kindness and consideration, done on a regular basis for the special people in our lives, are the moments one cherishes for a lifetime. The little things, done with love, are the things that count the most over time. If each of us committed to doing one small loving act for our spouses or other loved ones every day, St. Valentine’s Day would just be the icing on the cake!
So my St. Valentine’s wish to each of us is that we find ways to celebrate our love in ways big or small, every day, knowing that St. Valentine never takes a day off!
Peace & Blessings and Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all!
8:00am, 5:00pm (vigil)
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:15am, 10:45am, 12:15pm, 6:00pm (youth mass)
8:00 am, 6:00 pm;
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 12 noon-7:00 p.m. (except summer)