Have you noticed how big business focuses on the commercial value of February 14th by selling chocolates, flowers and cards on the day set to honour St. Valentine?
Valentine is remembers as a Roman priest who secretly married couples when the emperor of the time forbad his soldiers to marry. For his actions, Valentine was eventually executed. Each year his feast day on February 14 reminds us of the call to love which transcends all political regulations.
Our concept of love continues to evolve and is always expanding. Love of immediate family and clan is broadened to loving those beyond our closest family and friends. Jesus further expanded the concept to include loving one’s enemies – a call which is challenge for all of us – “Do to others as you would have them do to you” . In many ways this has become an accepted goal of most religions.
Modern science has introduced us more recently to a vast and interconnected creation that has been evolving for billions of years. Many have discovered that our surroundings are not simply a collection of objects, but rather ‘a communion of subjects’ — as Thomas Berry put it. Nothing can be isolated from the whole. Science is thus showing us the power of love. No “other,” of whatever religion, colour, nationality, gender or species is separate from us. We are being called continually to an ever expansive love of all beings, of all creation.
On this Valentine’s Day you are invited to reflect on the following challenges about the kind of love needed in our time.
Jesus: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…..”
Daniel Delany: “Do everything in a spirit of love and you will not find your hands empty at journey’s end”.
Teilhard de Chardin: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, humans will have discovered fire”.
Mary MacKillop: “Love one another, bear with one another, let charity guide you all your life”.
Pope Francis: “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, (God’s) boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. (Laudato Si 84)
Happy Valentine’s Day!