Next Friday you won't find me celebrating Valentine's Day; partly because I'll be on camp with 90 Year 12 boys from Padua College, partly because it's my Grandmother's birthday, but mostly because in the Catholic calendar of saints it's actually the Memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
|The Feast of St Valentine is "a popular devotion, but not a feast universal"|
Cyril and Methodius were two brothers from Thessalonica who went on to become the Apostles of the Slavs. Their lives are definitely Google-search-worthy.
Now, I don't point this out to look like some smarty pants or to make some anti-commercialism rant (because it's too flipping obvious that commercialism manipulates every significant celebration in the world). My point is that we can miss the full story. If we get so distracted by the the romance of Valentine's Day, we can miss the story of Cyril and Methodius whose passion for the Gospel can be a great inspiration to us today.
This isn't just about the 14th day of February, this is about every day of our lives. Life carries with it history and background; and if we don't delve into that history or expose ourselves to that background, we can miss the richness that is inherent to the Catholic faith.
At whichever stage of the faith journey we find ourselves in, there's always the opportunity to root our faith even deeper into the 2000 plus years of history that precedes us. That requires a little extra digging to look past the cultural norms.
And "looking past the cultural norms" is probably a good place to circle back to, because that's exactly what Cyril and Methodius did: they looked past what everyone else was doing to proclaim the Gospel with new ardour, new method and new expression (*cough* New Evangelisation *cough*). On the 14th of February (and really, every other day for the rest of our lives) let's allow the Gospel to inspire us in new ways.