Thursday, February 14, 2008

Today is not Saint Valentine's Day

Secularly today is Valentine's Day, the day of inventive lingerie, like red teddies, as well as champagne, chocolate, and various lotions and oils. Valentine, along with Christopher and others whose historicity was highly doubtful, were removed from the liturgical calendar in the 1969 revision, which was part of the reform initiated by the Second Vatican Council.

Instead, today we observe the memorial of Sts. Cyril & Methodius. These two brothers, who lived in the ninth century, were missionaries to the Slavs and beyond. In 1980, the late, great Pope John Paul II, a Slavic pope who had only been wearing the shoes of the Fisherman for a few months, in an ecumenically magnanimous gesture to our Orthodox sisters and brothers, named these great saints as co-patrons of Europe. Hence, Europe has three male patrons and three female patrons: St. Benedict, St. Cyril, St. Methodius, along with St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (a.k.a. Edith Stein), and St. Catherine of Sienna

Sts Cyril & Methodius were born in Thessalonica (Thessaloniki/Salonica- fascinating city, previously referenced on Καθολικός διάκονος- the Church to which St. Paul addressed two letters). Cyril was educated in Constantinople. Together they went to Moravia to preach the faith. They translated liturgical texts into the Slavonic language and invented the Glagolithic and possibly also the Cyrillic alphabet. After Cyril's death, Methodius went to Pannonia, where he was assiduous in the work of evangelization. In the complicated international politics of the time he suffered much from attacks by his enemies, but he was always supported by the Popes.

I am not opposed to the observance of Valentine's Day, but neither do I feel compelled to dive in, epecially given that this year we are already in Lent. Besides, as a Christian, without sounding too sanctimonious, glib, or maudlin, everyday is a celebration of love, even in Lent.

I also want to draw attention to last Monday, 11 February, which marked the 150th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin's first apparition to St. Bernadette Soubrious at Lourdes, France. While I may not have blogged about it, we observed it with our faith community, that is, our parish. I also want to draw attention to two items I posted today on politics over on Cahiers- Making a prudential judgment based on reason: Immigration and Two questions.

3 comments:

  1. In our house, we don't celebrate the consumerist holidays; we feast the religious ones. My daughter had trouble explaining to her boyfriend's mother how even though she talks to me every other day on the phone, she wouldn't on principle call me on Mother's Day. We're heretics that way. ;) Sharon

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  2. We're on the same page on this one, Sharon. Our children are too young to have boy/girlfriends to bring home, but in the next few years I my seek advice. That's a great way of being heretical!

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  3. Oi! We love all holidays, consumerist or otherwise!

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