February 14 and many young people are buying roses and gifts for those whom they think they love and for those whom they think love them in return. Well and good. To these young romantics, if one may term them, today is Valentine’s Day. In the Church, however, the focus is on two men who loved deeply our Lord Jesus – a monk and a bishop. Yes, the Church remembers Sts Cyril and Methodius. It is a different kind of love, a love that knows only how to give as Jesus gave to us. . . as God the Father loved us and sent us his only begotten Son, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
The Church too is not slow to remind us day after day of the love of Christ for each and every one of us. On a long train journey this morning, I completed my reading of an excellent book by David Came,executive editor of Marian Helper magazine. The book is entitled ‘Pope Benedict’s Divine Mercy Mandate’ and I enjoyed thoroughly his many reflections and references to the love of God, and also to what our present Pope Benedict XVI has to share with us on the mercy of God. How very uplifting it was to hear David Came making clear the many points brought up also by Blessed John Paul II. Truly for me it was particularly meaningful since my own introduction to the mercy of God came just before my conversion to the faith. Divine Mercy – who can do without the love of our God?
So on this Valentine’s Day, however one may choose to celebrate it, let us first remember that God loved us first. God calls us to respond to his love. He also calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. Praise God!