Can we better lovers this Lent?
It is strange that the beginning of Lent should fall on February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day this year. We celebrate love and romance on this day. This is mainly due to traditions that grew in recent centuries and also the celebration of the natural rhythm of birds and animals pairing up in spring.
The history of St. Valentine is difficult to trace. It is thought that he was a 3rd century priest or bishop in central Italy and that he prayed for God to heal the daughter of a jailor or a judge. They were convinced of God’s power and were baptised, together with their household. Later he was challenged to give up his Christian faith but refused and was brutally executed, becoming a martyr.
The ideas around love, attraction and romance tend to be about how to capture someone who will match. This sometimes drifts into a selfish fulfilling of our desires, someone who will serve our needs. It is important to be honest about what we need however, to expect someone to be our servant is almost the opposite of love!
We know from couples that live and love for many years that love is about giving, is about trust and communication. There may well be disagreements but things are worked through with healthy compromise, with give and take. We know that forgiveness also has a part to play in a loving relationship.
The time of preparation before Easter, the season of Lent, usually has a personal exercise, a spiritual training task. Can we improve our loving this Lent? We could give up something like chocolate. We might take up something like reading a particular book. Whatever we decide to do, maybe this year we should think about how it makes us more loving, less selfish.
With “love” Revd KC