Not much is known of the Roman martyr St Valentine. He lived in the third century, he was a Bishop, and he was killed for his Christian faith; his day has always been kept on the 14th of February and his grave is pointed out to you in hushed tones when you visit the earliest catacombs in Rome.
Nobody knows for certain why his feast day should have become associated with the goings on between people who love one another. It is probable that the 14th of February was traditionally thought to be the day when birds started mating. For us as Christians it is an ideal opportunity to reflect upon our relationships. Our relationships are the single most important factor in shaping us into the people that we are.
First there is the relationship with our parents or parent-like figures in our lives, then with our siblings, then we make friends and have lovers, then we have partnerships and sometimes we are married. The nature of love in these relationships is that they can build us up but they can also injure us and leave scars.
Love on St Valentine’s Day becomes temporarily trivialised and commercialised into paper cards, but we all know that love has the capacity to hurt as well as to heal. And we all know that the experience of our relationships affects our ability to trust in friends and partners. But do we ever consider how our relationship with God, our friendship with Christ affects all our other relationships?
Do we really believe that God’s love for us can restore in us the ability to trust, to love, to forgive and even to be forgiven?
A good place to start is the famous 27th Psalm. Here the relationship with God is described as the only really reliable stronghold and it is here that all our other relationships are redeemed.
10 February 2019