Valentine’s Day: Love is in the Air

February 14th, what an exciting day! Of course it is the date we celebrate Valentine’s Day. There is more to this day than a simple marketing ploy by Hallmark to create a holiday in which a plethora of cards can be sold, along with roses, boxes of chocolates, and candle lit dinners for two. (Wow that sounds nice. I remember now what it was like before I had st-valentinekids). There is indeed a St. Valentine who is on the Roman Catholic list of saints. However, the details of his life are not entirely clear. He is believed to have lived in Rome and to have been martyred there for witnessing to the Faith in the third century. His feast day was celebrated on February 14th until the revision of the General Roman Calendar in 1969 under Blessed Paul VI (cf., and it is still celebrated in some places.

Valentine’s Day is typically thought of as a day to celebrate love. We as Catholics can be especially joyful when we celebrate the holiday as a day of love. First and foremost we call to mind our God who is love (1 John 4:8). God loved us so much that He incarnated His love in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And St. Paul explains that, “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). So if we buy red roses or see others buying red roses on Valentine’s Day, we can reflect on the blood of Christ that flowed from His side on Calvary as a sign of His love for us. We can reflect on the martyrdom of St. Valentine who died because he refused to deny Jesus. If we see people buying chocolates in the shape of a heart, we can reflect on the Sacred Heart of Jesus which burns with love for each of us. And when two people enjoy a candle lit dinner, they can reflect on the sacred meal that is the Eucharist with Jesus who is the light of the world (cf. John 8:12).

February 14th is also the Feast Day of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. They’re two brothers who were bishops in the ninth century. St. John Paul II actually wrote an entire encyclical letter StsCyrilMethodiusabout the two, stating, “THE APOSTLES OF THE SLAVS, Saints Cyril and Methodius, are remembered by the Church together with the great work of evangelization which they carried out” (Slavorum Apostoli 1). Cyril and Methodius are known for playing a major role in bringing Christianity to the Slavic people. They’re co-patron saints of Europe (Ibid.). I am particularly drawn to their story since my ancestors first came to the United States from Poland. And the first Polish pope, St. John Paul II, explained that while the evangelization of Poland stemmed from a few historical events, “the fact remains that the beginnings of Christianity in Poland are in a way linked with the work of the Brothers…” (Slavorum Apostoli 24). As we reflect on how our Catholic Faith has been handed on from generation to generation, from one person to another under the guidance of the successors to the Apostles the bishops, I can reflect on how the Gospel first influenced those Slavic people in the ninth century. At some point, one of my ancestors heard and accepted the Gospel and would hand it on to his or her ancestors or family members.

February 14th is a special day for me indeed. It is a special day to celebrate God’s love and to recall St. Valentine’s courage in proclaiming the Gospel. It is a day to reflect on how the Gospel was effectively proclaimed to the Slavic people through the brothers Ss. Cyril and Methodius. These two set out to a foreign land trusting that the Holy Spirit would guide them to speak and live the truth in love (cf. Ephesians 4:15). And February 14th is also a special day for me because it happens to be my birthday… but I won’t share which one.

Ss. Valentine, Cyril, Methodius, and John Paul II, pray for us!

Edward Trendowski teaches family life ministry for Saint Joseph’s College Online.

4 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day: Love is in the Air

  1. To me it seems we have lost the message of Love. Love is not what can he or she do for me. Love is not what’s in it for me.
    It seems to me in our world, love has been lost to our self-centered focus, on me!
    I did not get the promotion I deserve, or the raise I am due
    I was not respected enough
    I’m owed a new house or car or dress or suit or shoes

    Jesus came to this planet not because he had to, not because he was going to get something out of it, but for Love of us all. None are left out of Jesus’s Love.
    Love is not what you can get, but isn’t real love what you can offer to others without any regard for anything in return?
    As noted in the blog Ss. Cyril and Methodius did not leave the comfort of their home to bring the message of Jesus to the Slavic people for any reward. They did not spend hours working on translating the liturgy into Slavonic – the vernacular language – for any compensation. As a result of their work, these two brothers are revered as Saints of the Roman Catholic Church AND the Eastern Orthodox churches.
    I think they did it for Love.

  2. Ralph,

    Thank you for your comment. Absolutely, love is not about what you get out of a relationship. Love is about what we offer to a relationship, what we give of ourselves. However in an authentic relationship based on love, one person gives of himself or herself to the other, and vice versa. You raise an excellent point about how in our loving relationship with God, we should be seeking to tell others about Him. Ss. Cyril and Methodius went to a foreign land because they loved Jesus Christ and wanted to tell other people about Him.

    We do tend to think of the word “love” today in self-centered ways. We approach the concept of “love” thinking about it as: what can a person do for me? How does the other person make me feel? I think Jesus said it best:

    “For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:32-36).

  3. My comment is about securing what we have in this secular world. We have a special day for couples because of St. Valentine. We have allowed the St. prefix to be dropped. Watch the preschool children’s shows; they have re-named this day “because you love somebody day”. Yes Jesus’ sacrifice is the ultimate love story! However, just as the secular world tried to take Christ out of Christmas, let’s remember to keep St. Valentine in Valentines’s day!

    • Yes absolutely Theresa. The secular world has also tried to take “holy” out of “holiday.” We have a plethora of teachable moments when the many Catholic Christian holidays come around each year. The first step is for us, as Catholics, to learn our Faith and learn the original significance of the days.

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