I have shared before that in our parish we have an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament one Monday evening a month. I realize that this is not much of a commitment for a parish, but I can attest that those who attend (twenty-five on a very cold night tonight) find a wonderful, quiet, prayerful experience of peace in their lives.
With "Valentine's Day" just around the corner, our theme this evening was love. It was not the all hearts and flowers kind of love that we reflected upon, but rather the very real and life giving love of commitment and sacrifice that is found in Christ, not in cupid. Instead of lace frilled cut out hearts of red paper, we gaze upon a heart broken out of love and a heart whose blood was shed for our redemption. Instead of a calculated expression of affection we find a selfless and freely given and dynamic love for all people. We see a total, self-sacrificing love that leads through death to new and eternal, unending life. We find a transforming love that allows us, once loved, to become love and to encourage others through our words and greetings to also love and be loved. I shared that our tradition tells us that Saint Valentine, who is not on the calendar of the Church but who tradition tells us sent words of encouragement and love to fellow prisoners, reminding them of the love and sacrifice of Christ for them, is an example to us of what we can do - to tell others of the love of Christ for them.
A great part of our evening includes the wonderful music ministry of Diana Mikash of our parish and Saint Agnes. Diana brings her gift of voice and guitar and song with her wherever she goes. Tonight she led us in "Rain Down", "I Have Loved You" and "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" and graced us with "Age to Age" and "Dwelling Place". I did not feel particularly enthused about going, but ended up, as usual, finding great joy and peace in the experience. God is good.