Of St Valentine’s Day and Being Too Serious

Every year on this day I face a conundrum. The Church invites us to celebrate SS Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs, patrons of Europe and, whisper it softly, just a teeny weeny bit dull (I refer to the liturgy of the day rather than the men themselves). Meanwhile, the rest of the western world is celebrating St Valentine and love in all its forms with masses of pink ribbon, chocolates and wine. For those who don’t have a valentine, who are lonely or feel a bit vulnerable, it can be a difficult day. I think it is made more difficult still by those joyless Christians who are a little too earnest in their condemnation of others’ pleasures. My Catholic soul rises up in revolt when they attack the roses and romance and mutter darkly about love needing to be general rather than particular. It is a great mistake to think we love everyone because we are incapable of loving any individual. We forget what we learned at our mother’s breast, that love is particular before it can be general; and it never ceases to be particular to some degree, for how else will you explain the gift of friendship, for example?

The readiness of some Christians to condemn others is a very unattractive trait, but especially so when it concentrates on minor matters. We may think the world would be a better place if people did not eat meat or drink wine, but to censure those who do is preposterous and ignores the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ did both. I think we have become too serious about little things and not serious enough about big things. St Valentine’s day may have become a bit tacky and tawdry, but at its heart is a very Christian message: that love is better than hatred, joy better than gloom, and we need to get along with one another as well as we can. Can anyone really object to that?

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6 thoughts on “Of St Valentine’s Day and Being Too Serious”

  1. Undoubted in the past pious Christians could be a deeply unattractive lot however I’m starting to wonder if, in today’s world, it isn’t the militant secularists and and the various ‘right on’ PC activists who make up a majority of joyless curmudgeons.

    • I don’t think Christians have a monopoly on silliness or sanctimoniousness, but I must say we come in for quite a few lectures here at the monastery, which makes me believe it is still widespread among Christians. We are so very keen to improve . . . others. 🙂

  2. I find it sad that anyone would condemn another for anything, let alone the trivial stuff that you highlight.

    There is an expression in the vernacular “Get a Life” which seems to me quite apt in terms of those people whose sense of humour is buried under pious platitudes.

    Jesus wants us to live our lives in all of it’s fullness – and that includes love, romance and the joy of personal relationships both with him and others.

  3. “I think we have become too serious about little things and not serious enough about big things. ” because dealing with the big things scares us. It takes us out of our ‘comfort zone’.

  4. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. Hope ,Faith an Love the greatest of these is Love.

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