Today is Valentine’s day, a popular holiday with its source in the feast day of the bishop and martyr Valentinus. However, this blog isn’t going to be about St. Valentine, but about something greater. Today, we’re going to focus on the Mass, the main way that God reveals His love to us.
Every time we celebrate the Mass, one of the things we say is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Every sinner in the church has experienced the truth of that statement. It’s easy for us to think of the Mass as a once-a-week obligation, an old formula we do just to stay Catholic, but when we pay attention to the prayers of the Mass, that illusion is rapidly shattered. How much love is there in this sacrament, where the “Lord God of Hosts” comes to us unworthy sinners; that He wishes to enter under our roofs to make us able to better love Him!
He who formed time itself cared enough about you to make you, knowing that time and time again you would turn away from Him. He cared enough to pursue you relentlessly, to send His Son to be tortured and to die for you so that you could be reconciled with Him. But even this was not enough to satisfy His love for you. He instituted His Church and gave you His Sacraments so that He could nourish you and invite you into His life daily through the Mass. He who is outside of time gave us the Mass, gave us His Word and Flesh, so that heaven might intersect earth, and made this gift available to us daily. How great is His love for you!
It can be easy to let your mind wander during Mass, heaven knows. Many of the words are the same every time. The responses can feel stale, even in the most vibrant gift. Nevertheless, “I love you” said a thousand times is still “I love you”. He has written us a great love letter, the Scripture, and in the Mass He shares not just His letter, but His very self in the Eucharist with us, and gives us the chance to answer and enter into His love through the liturgy. Every word of the Mass is part of this missive of His love, and when we choose to ignore the love of this gift, we are robbing ourselves as well as ignoring Him. Yet despite all the times we have slighted His gifts, still He pursues us. He humbles Himself, allowing His heart burning with love to become our food that we may learn to love as He does.
Today, if you can, come to Mass. Pay attention in honest prayer to all the words said. Today, the King of Love wants to give you a Happy Valentine’s Day with Him.
P.S. This is one of my favorite Valentine’s day poems, if you care to read it. It’s about Our Lady.
A Blue Valentine, by Joyce Kilmer.
Right Reverend Bishop Valentinus,
Sometime of Interamna which is called Ferni,
Now of the delightful Court of Heaven,
I respectfully salute you,
And I kiss your episcopal ring.
It is not, Monsignore,
The fragrant memory of your holy life,
Nor that of your shining and glorious martyrdom,
Which causes me now to address you.
But since this is your august festival, Monsignore,
It seems appropriate to me to state
According to a venerable and agreeable custom,
That I love a beautiful lady.
Her eyes, Monsignore,
Are so blue that they put lovely little blue reflections
On everything that she looks at,
Such as a wall
Or the moon
Or my heart.
It is like the light coming through blue stained glass,
Yet not quite like it,
For the blueness is not transparent,
Her soul’s light shows through,
But her soul cannot be seen.
It is something elusive, whimsical, tender, wanton, infantile, wise
She wears, Monsignore, a blue garment,
Made in the manner of the Japanese.
It is very blue—
I think that her eyes have made it more blue,
Sweetly staining it
As he pressure of her body has graciously given it form.
Loving her, Monsignore,
I love all her attributes;
But I believe
That even if I did not love her
I would love the blueness of her eyes,
And her blue garment, made in the manner of the Japanese.
I have never before troubled you with a request.
The saints whose ears I chiefly worry with my pleas are
the most exquisite and maternal Brigid,
Gallant Saint Stephen who puts fire in my blood,
and your brother bishop, my patron,
The generous and jovial Saint Nicholas of Bari,
But of your courtesy, Monsignore,
Do me this favor:
When you this morning make your way
To the Ivory Throne that bursts into bloom with roses
because of her who sits upon it,
When you come to pay your devoir to Our Lady,
I beg you, say to her:
“Madame, a poor poet, one of your singing servants yet on earth,
Has asked me to say that at this moment he is especially grateful to you
For wearing a blue gown.”
Blog post by Jessica Hastings