A Mary Moment Monday post

I used to roll my eyes and consider Valentine’s Day. What was the point?

Don’t get me wrong: I love chocolate. And I have recently realized that I love flowers too.

Imagine my poor husband’s shock when I received a random bouquet from a dear sister-in-law last year and not only blogged about it, but gushed and gushed and gushed. “But I thought you didn’t like flowers?” He wasn’t accusatory, only a bit…confused.

“I didn’t think I did. I really didn’t.”

I think, after a few years or so of considering, that I like Valentine’s Day after all. It’s in part because of my six-year-old, who has an infectious passion and enthusiasm for cut-out hearts and giving them to people, time of year notwithstanding.

It’s also in part because Valentine’s Day is a very Catholic sort of holiday. Saint Valentine of Rome was a martyr. He was also a priest, possibly a bishop–a celibate man.

My favorite celibate man is also the godfather of my middle child. He has been an example to me of love, and how he joyfully embraces his vocation has inspired me in mine. I’ve worked closely with him, seen up-close the demands made of priests and pastors, experienced some of the sting and heartache.

St. Valentine was also a physician, which I find lovely, given what Valentine’s Day is now. I don’t see Valentine’s Day so much as a chance to eat chocolate as a chance to say that phrase which we might save or avoid or forget.

Recently, my closest and dearest friend suffered a tremendous loss. Her heart is still breaking, though she hides it from the world. Why did it take that heartbreak for me to tell her I love her?

Because…because those words felt cheap to me for a very long time. They felt like a manipulation, like there was no weight in them. It has taken many years of healing for me to see them as the beautiful bouquet they are.

So, today, I want to offer you a Mary Valentine. Join me in a decade of the rosary, whichever is your favorite or whichever comes to mind. I have a special tie to the Annunciation, and while I pray it for all of you, I’ll be thinking of how “Yes” is so often a shorter way of saying “I love you.”