Friday, February 14, 2014

Hearts and Flowers

     Saint Valentine's Day (or rather just Valentine's Day) is known for flowers and chocolates and hearts and sentiments of love.  It is remembered  in U.S. history for a bloody mob massacre in Chicago in 1929.  It has been celebrated in schools by Valentine Day's greetings and notes.  It is a day of showing your love for the ones that you love.  It was a day today when Pope Francis met with 20,000 engaged couples from over thirty countries of the world to celebrate their love and their commitment to enter into Christian marriage.  Happy Valentine's Day.

     And yet Saint Valentine is not even on the Church's universal calendar - not since 1969 when the calendar was revised.  He was removed from the Universal Calendar because there is uncertainty as to which one of three Valentine's is historical. But there is a Saint Valentine Church which was built in Rome in 1960 that was used at the Rome Olympics and is still a functioning parish of the Diocese of Rome. Today is the feast of the brother saints Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles to the Slavic Peoples.  They lived in the 800's and ministered as missionaries to the Slavic territories, being commissioned to spread the Gospel and provide the liturgy for those people in their own language.  Cyril developed a written language to help accomplish this feat, and the alphabet that is its foundation bears his name - the Cyrillic Alphabet.  If you watched the opening of the Olympic Games, the nations of the world were introduced in order according to this same Cyrillic Alphabet.  Being of Slavic heritage (Polish and Slovak) I am grateful for the missionary spirit of these two and their dedication to spreading the Good News to the peoples that are my fore bearers.

     So whether celebrating the sentimental love of the Hallmark version of Valentine's Day or the deep love of the Gospel message for all peoples that Cyril and Methodius conveyed or the inexpressible love of Christ for us found in his Sacred Heart, a very Happy Valentine's Day to each of you.

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