Today I e-mailed a little humorous greeting to some of my friends, saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day, or as we call it in the monastery, ‘Friday.'”
Actually, today the Church celebrates the memorial of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, two 9th century brothers born in Thessalonica. Both were ordained priests and lived in a monastery, but were chosen for a special mission due to their expertise with language. The King asked for missionaries from Constantinople to take the Gospel to central Europe. The brothers invented an alphabet and translated the Bible and other liturgical books into Slavonic. Pope John Paul II named them co-patrons of Europe, along with St. Benedict.
My nephew (age 2) sent me a Valentine’s Day card. I am sure his parents helped him, but I cannot help but smile.
We call to mind all those who have loved and supported us throughout our lives. As monks, we have vowed ourselves to our love of Christ, but each person is called to love in a way that imitates Christ’s total gift of self. Love always entails sacrifice- whether it is foregoing the blessing of married life and children, putting others first to our own needs, or simply being faithful each day to the way of life God has called us.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”