Hearts on cards and cakes, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, candy hearts for your special “Valentine”…
So where is your heart?
What does heart signify to you?
Is it the physical organ that keeps you going?
Does heart mean love? What kind of love?
What does it mean to be loved?
What does it mean to be on the receiving end of love? To receive it
and the joy of giving it away?
Is it a love borne of suffering and self-emptying?
Is it an
love, caring for the wellbeing of another?
Valentine’s Day celebrates a day of love and affection for one’s beloved. The Church remembers St. Valentine, Roman priest and martyr, who died in the year 270 during the persecution of Christians. In the third century, Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus made it a criminal offence to associate with Christians, so when he discovered that Valentinus (a priest) had secretly married young Christian couples who were in love, Claudius had him arrested, imprisoned and condemned to die.
There is a legend that while Valentinus was in prison, the jailer asked him if he would heal his daughter’s blindness. Valentinus spent time with Julia, teaching her about Jesus, yet he could not cure her blindness. On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a farewell letter to Julia, encouraging her to stay close to God. The next day, February 14, Valentinus was beheaded. When Julia received the note signed “From Your Valentine,” her blindness was healed. Later, this day was named St. Valentine’s Day, a day of exchanging messages of love and affection.
As I was reflecting on “Heart Day” coming up this month, I remembered that our mission at Loyola Institute for Spirituality is
Setting Hearts on Fire with love of God for the World.
How do we try to set hearts on fire? Isn’t Jesus the one who sets hearts on fire? We think back on the disciples on the road to Emmaus. As they were reflecting on their experience of the Risen Christ joining them on their way, they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
So too, with Jesus, we try to set hearts on fire:
We Bring Spirituality to life by:
inviting spiritual seekers to transformation,
fostering Ignatian formation and education,
May love so touch you that Jesus can inflame your heart to carry out
mission of love and compassion for the whole world.