Instead of launching on a diatribe against the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day and how the card, chocolate and flower sellers have created a day where they can earn their yearly bonus, I’d like to go another route – to think about something a little more prosaic and slightly more meaningful (to me at least).
Today, the Catholic and Anglican churches of the world celebrate the memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a pair of Greek brothers who were missionaries to the Slavic nations in the 9th century. Not only did they spread the gospel, they were credited with devising and spreading the alphabets that form the basis for Cyrillic, that’s still used in many Slavic languages now. The comparison between the brothers’ work and what we’re seeing today – all expressions of love though in vastly different forms.
Statue of St.s Cyril and Methodius in Nitra, Slovakia. (Image link)
If one strips away the flowers, chocolates, professions of ‘forever and a day’ and the like, what one is left with is the giving of oneself to another. Just as St. Cyril and Methodius gave themselves to the missionary work that they were called to, so would couples give the best of themselves to each other in the cause of love. Syrupy Hollywood romances aside, what happens after the guy and girl kiss and get together is a lifetime of giving and receiving of each other. Idealistic one might say, but then what is this world without idealism no?
And so how would this affect me? Myself a victim of the dreaded Card Company Day some years back, I’ve come to view the day with a certain sense of reflective detachment. I’d like to see the day as a celebration of love but of a more general and generous sort – of celebrating the giving of the selves to various causes and especially for those who have given up much to do that.
I’d like to dedicate this day to all social workers, care-givers, missionaries and especially to those who have answered the call to lead the life God called them to.