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Archive for February 14th, 2013

A Cartoon…

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There was a Valentine and the caption of this cartoon fairly well sums up what we know of him.  Pr. Abrahamson has an excellent article over on the blog Brothers of John the Steadfast to show from original source material that the Church did not adapt the martyrdom of Valentine to compete with pagan customs of the 3rd century,  Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies — Valentine’s Day.  This is his conclusion and then I have a reflection:

So much imaginative legend has grown up around St. Valentine that today it may be hard to separate fiction from truth. This leaves us to consider why it is that we have Saint’s days in our liturgical calendar. The purpose is that we may use their example of clinging to Christ against all the storms this world can throw at them, their examples of holding fast to the doctrine of Christ for the salvation of their souls, their examples of love for God and love for neighbor in spite of their own sinfulness in this sin stained world.

Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Christ lived and died this example. He rose again to show He conquered Satan, Sin, and Death.

It wasn’t until the 1750s A.D. that men began to create the notion that the choice of St. Valentine’s day had other motivations than just the fact that February 14th was the day he was believed to have died.

This article is an effort to remove the chaff from the kernel that we may “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” without giving “heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”

Reflection:  My opinion is. with the current disestablishment of the Church, and the rise and desire for non-ritual worship services, that the void has been filled for such rites and rituals by the secular and idolatrous culture.  Valentine’s Day is now associated, not even with romantic love, but pure lust. Valentine’s Day has become the ‘high holy day’ of coitus and coitus is it’s ‘sacrament’.    In a society in which marriage is disparaged with every turn, so “love” has been debased with every turn.  I like sit-coms on TV.  Valentine’s Day becomes the plot in many especially for “hooking-up”.  It may be my imagination but as a kid, fifty years or so ago, Valentine’s Day was just a sentimental time.  No longer.  But even love as a mere sentiment of the arrows of  “cupid”, the god Eros is dangerous, remembering Eros was the false god of ‘love’ that is  lust and from that name we have our word “erotic”. 

St. Valentine is also about love, God’s love, agape in Jesus Christ.  This is one of those rare times that Valentine’s Day falls in Lent, the day right after Ash Wednesday.  Love is not neutral.  It is a good, an ultimate good. (1 Corinthians 13: 13 ).  But sinners like me don’t love as we ought.  Jesus came in love to redeem our love and cure and heal it.  I’m sure Saul of Tarsus thought he loved: the Torah, his people and the like and he wanted to murder Christians but Jesus revealed to Him  His true love, even to one as Saul:

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8

Paul’s use of the 1st person plural pronouns “we” and “us” was honest and he found out about love, true love: He loved sinners to death, His death on the Cross.  Luther on the difference between agape/charity and our love :

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

The Apostle wrote in Romans 6:1ff that when we were baptized we were baptized into His death…our love is also crucified so  that His true love take root in repentance and forgiveness and our hearts are made alive.  Paul and Valentine were both martyrs for our true Love.

I send you all a Valentine, from Martin Luther, his seal:

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