Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Becoming St. Valentine

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Do you have big plans? Have you ordered the flowers, picked up the chocolates, made dinner reservations at a special restaurant?

img_4725I have a proposal for you—in light of my blog post last week about refugees and immigrants. What if, instead of spending money on yourself and your beloved, you were to take that $20 or $50 or $100 and donate it instead to an organization that’s supporting the refugees and immigrants in our midst today?

That type of action would be much more in keeping with the tradition of St. Valentine, whose holy day has been warped beyond all recognition by our culture, starting all the way back in medieval times. There is practically nothing historically known about St. Valentine, but tradition states that he restored the vision of a judge’s blind daughter and thereby converted the judge’s family to the Christian faith. Bringing healing to a young girl who was living without hope seems far more in line with Jesus’ ministry than the traditions of courtly love or giving flowers and candy to people who have plenty of worldly goods.

How might you make Valentine’s Day a celebration of self-giving love? If my idea about a donation doesn’t suit you, choose another, but be intentional about living in the spirit of the day, rather than the cultural norms for the day. Bring hope to the hopeless and become St. Valentine to someone else this week.

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