Valentine’s Day, Baptism, and Eucharist?

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Formation, Reflections

What day do Americans spend well over 20 billion dollars celebrating? Yes, billions of dollars?

At one level we say you can’t put a price tag on love. But at another level, Americans alone spend well over 20 billion on celebrating love on a day called Valentine’s Day.

Commercial interests have certainly mastered marketing this day! But for a moment let’s step back a bit for some perspective.

Being in love and loving

Underneath all the commercialism of Valentine’s Day is a desire to celebrate love. More precisely, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the awareness of loving and being loved.

At the same time, I wonder if what we celebrate is “being in love” or “loving”. Being in love seems to characterize the early phases of a relationship. There is excitement and wonder at the mutual discovery, of delighting in fantasies and anticipating sharing so much in the years ahead.

After the fantasies and illusions begin to fall away, it’s possible that what comes into focus is something much better: a realistic, sustained love “in good times and bad.”

Celebrating loving and being loved

Our word “celebrating” has roots in the mid-1500s. It means “make widely known, praise, glorify”. In other words, it is good news that can’t be kept in.

Can you hear echoes of the word “gospel” or “bringing the good news” of God’s love?

Some years ago, a woman wrote me of the beginning years of her marriage:

 “I have become aware of what it means to be loved and it is that awareness of being loved that I am trying to share with others.”

What a beautiful way of getting at yet another dimension of loving!

Loving is a process and a journey. In its highest form, it takes a lifetime to unpack. There is the “for better or for worse.”

There is also the mission to help others become aware of what it means to be loved and loving. Children can clearly be seen as expressions of enduring love. Parents bring to visibility their maturing love. But couples not only grow in their love for each other. They form their children in the awareness of being loved. And so the circle of those who hear and experience the “good news” expands.

Anniversaries – Baptismal and Eucharistic

A few years ago Pope Francis asked us to ponder the day of our Baptism.

All of us were baptized, let us give thanks for this gift. … It is very important to know it, because it is a date to be celebrated: it is the date of our rebirth as Children of God. …. Celebrating that day means and reaffirms our adherence to Jesus, with the commitment to live as Christians, members of the Church and of a new humanity, in which all are brothers and sisters.

The same could be said of the day of our first communion. We celebrated that day with our families. We knew it was special. But it should be only the beginning of a life-long journey!

We spend our lives understanding that celebrating Eucharist together is more than just me and Jesus. Celebrating each Eucharist brings an awareness of the love God has for us … and the mission to expand that circle.

Jesus’ last will and testament, wash one another’s feet, is a mission. Do this in memory of me“ is the challenge to bring others to the awareness of being loved.

Do you celebrate

  • your growing awareness of being loved by God?
  •  your mission to love as Jesus loves?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk