It seems it is ever harder to love with every year, because as the years roll by, grievances, mistakes, blunders and the memory of them grow like a snowball, because there is ever more cynicism and less warmth and cordiality around. But was there more of it in other times? No. One just happens to live here and now, at a particular time and in a particular place. And one has to love in these conditions, because there will be no other - to love not only for, but sometime also contrary to.
In all times love was discussed and expressed through words, music, film - anything, and we continue to talk about it as much assuming we mean basically the same. We invent endless definitions of love and choose from among thousands of them the one closest to ourselves only to find out that there is no time left in the process for love itself.
Love and being in love have no geography. That is why our young people have come to appreciate St. Valentine’s Day as well. Though it is not fixed in the calendar of either the Orthodox or the Catholic Church but rooted in a popular tradition, in observing it, we remember a feat in the most profound Christian sense when we, again, love not only for but also contrary to. And this inadvertently brings to mind sanctity, because where there is love there is is sanctity.
According to tradition, St. Valentine, a pious Christian preacher, administered the sacrament of marriage to Roman soldiers and their sweethearts contrary to the imperial prohibition and was executed for it. Rooted in Christianity but now secular, this festival, devoted to the feeling of being in love, sanctifies this feeling in all those who celebrate St. Valentines Day but have not entered the church fold as yet. The very plot of the tradition - a Christian saint saves loving souls and their feelings from separation - indicates that being in love, which is conception of love, has the right to divine protection.
If one comes to love even not believing in God or not confessing Christianity, one has already fulfilled one of the commandments - and the commandments are universal - since we all, in the final analysis, were born on St. Valentine’s Day. And if in a country, a city, a house or in somebody’s heart, St. Valentine’s Day is born with the sunrise again and again, not that it would make life easier, but it would just give birth to life, because love is life.
Times are passing, the fruits of our labour are changing, but we are the same as we were two thousand years ago. It seems this day, St. Valentine’s Day, is always with us because humanity stands on it. One needs just to open wide the windows, take a deep breath, close one’s eyes and live, here and now, in one go, in love. Indeed, nobody has cancelled the soul. As long as there is soul, we will live - live as we are, with the right to life and this means to love, which again and again wins life from non-existence.