In the cycle of the church calendar, fixed dates do not reoccur in any real, usual fashion. For example, today is both the first Monday of Lent and February 14th, the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius or traditionally, St. Valentine’s Day. The first Monday of Lent and St. Valentine’s day are seldom the same day.
But today, it is and the second reading, on the subject of showing one another God’s generosity, is perfect for today. It starts with:
Recoginze to whom you owe the fact that you exist, that you breathe, that you understand, that you are wise, and, above all, that you know God and hope for the kingdom of heaven and the vision of glory, now darkly as in a mirror but then with greater fullness and purity. You have been made a son of God, co-heir with Christ. Where did you get all this, and from whom?
We are given all things and can do all things through God. Our ability to one day reach the fullness of existence with and in God the Father is only ours because of Jesus Christ. Our existence, in any form, is only because of the gift of it from God.
On Valetine’s Day, as a culture, we celebrated eros, as I mentioned in my previous post. On a different, higher level, we celebrated, as we celebrate everyday, a gift from God. God has given us the ability to experience love for him, love for our brothers and love for our lovers.
St. Gregory continues:
Brethen and friends, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift. If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say: Be ashamed of yourselves for holding on to what belongs to someone else. Resolve to imitate God’s justice, and no one will be poor.
Initially, we think of material possessions- our wealth and our call to give more alms during Lent. But in light of Valentine’s day, may I suggest that we look at this in the context of love?
God has given to us infinite love. His love extends to us in so great a fashion that not only did he send his only Son to us but he died for us. Our creator loved his creation to the point of sacrificing himself to ransom back for us the life that we forfeited through original sin.
There are those who live amongst us who are poor in spirit. Not only have we recieved God’s love, as have those who are poor in spirit, but we know of this love. Who are we to contain it only in ourselves?
As Christians, we are called to preach the Good News to all through our thoughts, words and deeds. While this calling is universal to all who have been washed of sin through holy baptism, on this day in our secular culture we are called to preach it evermore so. Our culture has a special knack for getting so close to expressing an universal truth- love- yet falls so far by forgetting the faith that it must be rooted in.
On this day of love, we are called to spread what we have been given- God’s love- and, by our actions, show the world the love which has been given to all of us. “Let us put into practice the supreme and primary law of God. He sends down rain on just and sinful alike, and causes the sun to rise on all without distinction.” So we too must spread the love and knowledge of God without distinction.