Valentine’s Day can be an awkward feastday for many. Single people often feel isolated. People in relationships feel obliged to show their affection for their significant others in a way that may seem totally manufactured. Valentine’s Day is considered one of the most polarizing holidays in the year. You are either a complete believer in what Valentine’s Day has come to mean, a celebration of love, or else you are sick and tired of the marketing frenzy that surrounds the event. However, love makes life beautiful, at any age. Whether it’s for the first time or the 100th, expressing your love is the best way to light up someone’s day, especially when they don’t expect it! And that’s exactly what we did last week on campus at Saint Paul University!
Saint Paul Students for Life group decided to mark Valentine’s Day and celebrate the gift of life and love on campus on Thursday last. Bopping along to classic love songs and handing out delicious home-made cookies, chocolate hearts and themed candy, it was a chance to meet some wonderful people who are students and professors on the university campus and spread the word about our group and its scope. It was also a light hearted way to get across some important messages. A short message welcomed people at our stand: “You are created from, by, for love. God is love!” People also had the opportunity to pick up a precious love letter from God completely composed from Scripture. You can download it it here.
Roses, which were available for a small donation, went down a treat and disappeared very quickly! It was probably strange for some people to see a religious sister and priests, along with the other members of our group, inviting people to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Even stranger that we were handing out stuff for free! I was reminded of Pope Francis’ words on the 2nd of February, day for consecrated life. He said “consecrated persons are signs of God in diverse environments of life, they are leaven for the growth of a more just and fraternal society, prophecy of sharing with the little and the poor. As such understanding and experience, the consecrated life appears to us just as it really is: a gift of God!
So were we just buying into the whole commercialism of Valentine’s Day (Saint Valentine’s Day, to be precise!)? On the 14th, the same Pope Francis met with 20,000 engaged couples in St. Peter’s Square. In his address, he encouraged couples to have the courage to make lasting choices, which can be challenging in today’s ‘through-away culture.’ We wanted to remind people that they are infinitely and unconditionally loved by God, not just on Valentine’s Day but always. It is also an invitation to engage in relationships which are healthy, holy and happy, seen in the optic of God’s divine project for each one of us. Relationships which are wholesome, life-giving and life-receiving. To be leaven in this same ‘through-away culture’ is not easy as we discover. Love is often distorted and manipulative because it is appears to be about one’s self and not the other. Jesus must be at the centre of every relationship, whether you are single, married, priest or a religious. Love must be open to life.
While the days of those little cardboard Disney-princess Valentine’s Day cards may be over for many of us (any one remember Martin’s “I choo-choo-choose you” for Lisa on The Simpsons?), it is no harm to have a little fun to celebrate the event as we continue to promote the work that the Students for Life groups does. The protection of the weak and the vulnerable, those who the world deems ‘unlovable’ is what we stand up for, in the name of love. Love, not hatred, will conquer the battle. Thanks to the students and professors who supported the event, stopped by and chatted, handed out the goodies, prayed for us and continue to fight that life may be respected at all stages. Photo gallery
(taken from Sr. M. Louise’s blog over at Pilgrims Progress)