Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From Clubs to Cupids

Happy Feast of St. Valentine's Day!
Of course, I changed the text color of this post to red, because St. Valentine's Day is all about love, and roses, and hearts, and red boxes of chocolate, and cute little cupids, right?

Or not.

In a culture that creates a romantic-buy-a-new-dress-pick-up-expensive-flowers-eat-at-a-fancy-restaurant- mentality surrounding Valentine's Day, it is no wonder that we have lost the point.

Do you know WHY we celebrate something called Valentine's Day?

About 1800 years ago, it all started with a Catholic priest.  He was a good priest, who loved his Lord, but he lived in a time when that was not acceptable be a Christian.  Roman leaders heard of his beliefs, and subsequently killed him, first by beating him with clubs, and then beheading him for good measure. (Rumor has it that he was found to be a Christian because he was performing secret/illegal Christian marriages- hence the connection with romantic love.)

Clubs and beheadings- Now that sounds like Valentine's Day doesn't it?

What we need to remember on St. Valentine's Day is a different kind of love than the kind of love the greeting card companies would have us believe in.  Love is not all swoony and candlelit.  Sometimes love is manifested not in a bouquet of flowers, but in the life of a martyr.  Valentine died because he was in LOVE with the Creator of the Universe.  His life has become an example of LOVE for the billions who came after him.  I wonder what Valentine, looking on us from the beatific vision, thinks of the way we celebrate his "day" now?  Does he chuckle at how far we miss the point?  Does he pray for us, that we not lose our focus on the Source of Love?  Does he wonder about where in the world we came up with these Valentine's Day Traditions?

I don't know what St. Valentine is thinking, but I know that I plan on focusing on his kind of love this Valentine's Day.

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments." ~Deuteronomy 7:9

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