Happy Valentine’s Day. Being the romantic kind of guy that I am, I always assumed it was a Hallmark Card creation and not a real holiday. Not surprisingly, I’m cynical.  According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans (which does not include me) are expected to spend $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts – that’s up from $21.8 billion in 2021. Of course, inflation explains the 2.1 billion dollar difference – only kidding.  Some historians believe that Valentine’s Day commemorates the death of St. Valentine on February 14th, others believe that the holiday actually has its origins in a Pagan fertility festival called “Lupercalia,” which was celebrated on February 15th in ancient Rome. Dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus, the day was celebrated by sacrificing animals and smacking women with animal hides, a practice that was believed to encourage fertility. Thankfully, somewhere in the 1300s, Valentine’ Day officially became a holiday associated with love. In all of this, I discovered a thought by the author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, who said… “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” For most of the day, these words have been starring back at me on a rather empty screen. (Yes, a bit busier Monday than usually but I can’t use this as an excuse.) I’ll be spending some time on my chair, pondering the thought – loving means striving to become better and as I strive to become better, things around me become better. I wonder, how has love moved me to become better and how is my love making things better.

Scripture Reading: “Hebrews 13:16
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

Reflection Questions:
How are you affecting those around you?
How else does love impact you?

Prayer: Holy God, help me to strive to love deeper and let be more attentive to those who journey with me.  Let my love and good deeds shine your light throughout this day and in the days to come. Amen