February 14, 2012 | 09:22 am

It Didn’t Begin with Romance

Today is Valentine’s Day, and woe to the person who forgets to express his or her love! If you are one of those who have forgotten, consider this your pastoral reminder to pick up flowers, buy candy, or plan a romantic dinner for that special someone in your life. It is not too late to save the day! 

Valentine’s Day was not always like this. It began as a day to commemorate the martyrdom of those saints named Valentine.  In doing so, it gave people the opportunity to contemplate faith and the limits of love. By remembering those who gave their lives for their love of God, one is drawn into the mysterious, beautiful, and confusing ways that love directs our lives.

It reminds me of the words of Jesus when he said that “to lay down one’s life” is the ultimate expression of one’s love for another (John 15:13).  I think this is true. I would easily lay down my life for my wife, son, or daughter. But for others, probably not. Raising this question is a quick litmus test for those whom we have a special love. The writings of Chaucer picked up this aspect of Valentine’s Day, and overtime romantic love became the day’s focus. Though the nature of the day has changed, it continues to provide the opportunity to consider whom we love and how we love. Do not let the day slip by without considering how love fills and directs our lives.