A day for Luuurve!

For many years the 14th of February was a day that filled me with dread.  At school I was not a child who took much interest in matters of romance, and to be honest with you, the girls at school would have quickly rebuffed me had I tried!  The usual childhood cruelties ensued with those not receiving Valentines greetings being the objects of scorn and derision!

We’re not quite sure who Saint Valentine was – his origins are a bit obscure, but the best guess is that whe was a priest in Rome in the third century AD who performed marriages for young Christian couples and fell foul of the Roman authorities and was imprisoned by the Emperor Claudius.  Strangely he came into favour with the Emperor but it all went awry when Valentine tried to convert Claudius.  He was to be beaten to death, but when that failed he was beheaded.  Rather feels like my treatment on Valentine’s day in primary school!!

So when did Valentine’s day become a day for celebrating love?  Well, we’re not completely sure, but in the 14th Century Chaucer and many others spearheaded the celebration of a day of Romantic Love and dear Valentine, with his desire to allow young couples to wed, became the object of their devotions.

And why not!  So much has been said over the years about the Church’s view on romance and marriage, and here is not the place for deep discussions, but anyone reading through wisdom books of the Old Testament cannot fail to notice something remarkable about the book we call The Song of Solomon, or the Song of Songs.  It is a remarkable piece of romantic poetry at the heart of scripture (and there are probably a few other words that could be used to describe it).  Forget Multiple Shades of Dull Colours, just read Song of Songs.  Apparently Rabbis would get Jewish boys to read the book of Proverbs to teach them how to behave towards their wives, and then get them to read the Song of Songs, to teach them how to treat their wives.

Romantic Love is not the invention of the card companies or the florists.  God created us to love others, and to give that love to one special person, in the most precious relationship.  Even the marriage service acknowledges how the image of romantic love finds an echo in the love of God for His Church. 

So this Valentine’s day, don’t be distracted by the marketing, find a a way to show those closest to you just how much you love them… oh, and if you know any 10 year old boys who absolutely hate the day, don’t send them an anonymous valentine – it won’t help!  Just remind them that one day it will truly make sense, and love them anyway!

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