Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

the perfect stillness

It’s always a mystery to me how our consumeristic society can so quickly and easily turn something so beautiful into something so profitable. Valentine’s Day is a case in point.

In three days we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. And all of us know what that means. For anyone with a spouse, partner, or significant other, the day “mandates:”
A. an expensive (and for full credit) sentimental card
B. a box of fancy chocolates
C. at least a dozen red roses
D. a nice dinner (preferably at a restaurant of note)
E. jewelry or (in extreme cases)
F. all of the above

Cash registers across the country are singing their happy song! How much can we be guilted into spending to insure that special someone really knows how much we care?

What never ceases to amaze me, however, is how completely we have bought into this mindless “spend to prove you love me” orgy. Love is not about roses, or even chocolates, no matter how decadently delicious they might be. While giving thoughtful gifts to those we love is never out of season, poor Saint Valentine is surely rolling over in his grave at the way we profane his day.

I’ll talk more about the saint in my next post, but for now I just want to close with a poem from one of the most influential female saints in Islam. Her name is Rabia of Basra, and she lived around 717-801. She is another of my favorite poets. The poem is entitled THE PERFECT STILLNESS.

Love is
the perfect stillness
and the greatest excitement, and most profound act,
and the word almost as complete
as His name.

Valentine’s Day fast approaches

As we approach Valentine’s Day I would like to recommend the First Letter of John in the New Testament as a good resource. The writer provides some powerful insights into the true nature of love.

John talks about what love looks like and how it acts. He talks about true love, and what love is and isn’t. He talks about loving God and loving one another, and how there cannot be one without the other.

John gives us clear instructions on loving one another and why. He even tells us how to love, which the great bard, himself, picked up on and used in The Two Gentlemen of Verona when he penned “They do not love that do not show their love.”

I am pretty sure that is Shakespeare’s paraphrase of I John 3:18, where John tells us, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

I only wish that Shakespeare would have included the 17th verse as well, which is what verse 18 refers to. The two verses need to be read together.

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.

Valentine’s Day fast approaches, and the writer of First John is a good resource to help us celebrate the day appropriately, even if he doesn’t mention candy, roses or sentimental greeting cards.

the principle of existence

As we fast approach St. Valentines Day, I thought a word or two about love might be in order. Experience has taught me that many of us have some misconceptions about the day itself, and even the subject of love.

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” Saint Augustine

The truth of Augustine’s words continue to echo down through the centuries since they were first penned by this saint. True love is manifested in action. Love is not gushy sentiments, Hallmark cards, expensive chocolates, and dozens of roses. Love is the active response to those around us most in need.

Benjamin Disraeli wrote that, “We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.”