Valentine’s Day

I despise Valentine’s Day. It would be boring for everyone, including me, to list all the reasons. Short version: it commercially exploits love, somehow subverting it into consumption; and the day suggests that we should somehow love others especially on this day above others. Why not every day?

It especially annoys me when churches do goofy things on Valentine’s Day, as if this day were anything other than a Hallmark holiday ever since the Church figured out that this celebration was made from the stuff of legend. Fr. Bosco Peters covers that pretty well on his excellent Liturgy blog.

Still, I am not above making gift recommendations for those of you who do not share my disdain. If you’re going to buy something, why not get something cool. Forget fake heart shapes. Get a real heart shape. All the details are here.

Shot of Cupid’s arrow toward BoingBoing.

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1 Response

  1. Scott – I’ll give you a partial agree on this one 🙂

    I certainly agree with you on the Marketing Dinks over-use of Valentine’s Day, particularly after I was once “required” (during wartime, they call this “duress”!) to do a massive email marketing campaign in honor of “Sweetest Day.” (it’s the Third Sunday in October.) S.D. is a Great Idea Turned Hallmark.

    Valentines day (along with its first cousin The Eve of All Saints) has become gold rush days for greeting card retailers, teddy bear manufacturers, and dentists.

    But suppose we turn to the right about 5 degrees and look at the picture again: there, Valentines Day has more in common with Ash Wednesday than with National Gorge on Cheap Chocolate Day.

    Ash Wednesday is that one day a year that we get to (quite literally) fall on our face in the dirt and give a deep and meaningful meditation on the words “heartily sorry” and “humbly repent.” As my Dad says in his Bible-waving, finger-pointing sermons, Ash Wednesday is the one day the year when we get to “approach the throne of grace” on our knees, open our hearts and start one of the most contemplative and difficult seasons in our Liturgial year. We start it all out with “I am sorry. Because…”

    What follows then is a punch list that is VERY difficult to count, yet count we must! This is the spiritual equivalent of “No pain, no gain.”

    Valentines Day: think the same thing and turn it on its side as the one day a year (with or without the Teddy Bears and chocolate roses!) we get to stop, consider every love, every like, every “talking to” in our lives, remember them (Dad would say “Raise them up!), and actually break our Amurricun social taboos and say:

    “You know… I really love you!”

    If we have a “lick of sense” we add “Because…”

    If we’re old enough and have seen enought highways and honky-tonks, then we do NOT say “Even though….”

    In a perfect world, The Maker gets that from us every day, in our prayers. Especially the sighs coming from those secret places in our hearts. Too bad that the folks around us – the ones who sustain us, keep us going, keep us ALIVE… they probably live with our assumption of “Well…You know.”

    Valentine’s Day: Once a year, the majority of us get to fall on our faces, quite literally in the dirt and say “Oh my GOD! I love you because….”

    And by doing so, we tell that person, and we tell God as well!

    Of course, the downside is that far too many of us wait for a holiday to say what we mean, both to those we love here, and the Maker who we love, all above, around, and in us.

    One of my favorite preachers who unfortunately inspired me to become “God’s Troublemaker” years later, used to grin at the end of the main Easter service and say “OK folks! See most of you at Christmas!”

    He was saying that as a joke, but then how many of us throw ourselves to the ground daily, and with truth in our voices rise up that we are HEARTILY sorry for what awful jerks we really are.

    And how many of us, take just one day a year to break through too many bad assumptions to say “OMG! I just plain-out slap-dab LOVE you!”

    Keep the faith!