14 February 2012

Feast of St. Valentine

Happy feast day!  This day has been so overwhelmed by the secular as to be practically unknown among most people.  I mean, hey, at least people who aren't Christians know that Christmas has something to do with Christ, right?

I typed this take on the subject last year:

Happy feast day of St. Valentine, priest and martyr, to all of you. I get a kick out of the new calendar on many days, but this is definitely one of them. One of the great traits of the Church is her ability to sanctify and elevate the merely pagan or secular "holiday". In history, this usually takes place in the changing of a pagan feast day to a Catholic one, such as on Christmas or Easter, when a feast of the Son of God occurs to eclipse a previously pagan observance.

St. Valentine's Day marks the opposite process. A Catholic feast day for nearly two millenia, celebrating the Charity of Christ as it shone forth in the life and martyrdom of an early Roman priest, it became co-opted to some extent by secular notions of romantic love (at best) or lust (at worst).

For some reason, those architects of the new Calendar of the Church decided to cede the field, eliminating the feast of St. Valentine so that the chance of most people, and perhaps even most Catholics, to know the origins and purpose of the day would be minimal. Great idea. So, most Catholics wake up today and, if they go to Mass, celebrate the Feast of the very worthy Saints Cyril and Methodius, whose feast day on the traditional Calendar is July 7.

Whatever the case, may the Charity of St. Valentine animate all of our actions and thoughts, to serve the Lord Who deserves all our love.

In addition to the gratitude I feel for the gift of my long-suffering wife, and also for the great evidence of God's love for me that I see around my dinner table each day, St. Valentine's day brings to mind absent friends, always in my prayers.

May we call to mind with gratitude all of the evidence of God's burning charity in our lives today.

St. Valentine, pray for us!


Anonymous said...

why in the breviary do we celebrate st's cyril and methodius but in the 1962 roman missal that i just bought my hubby for his b-day, it is the prayers for st valentine? i just did the normal morning prayer instead of the ones for the saints. i felt like i was being a traitor to st valentine...

Anonymous said...


The sanctoral cycle - as well as the temporal - was altered in the years after VII. Feastdays, such as that of SS Cyril and Methodius, (originally July 7 in the '62 Calendar) were moved for various reasons. You will see that there are many such instances of difference between the two forms.