Monday, 14 February 2011

St Valentine's Day

Valentinus, a Roman, according to one story, was executed on 14th February, 269 AD, for refusing to give up his Christian faith. He left a farewell note, the story relates, for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, signed "from your Valentine". That seems to me highly improbable and hardly a reason for making him a saint 200 years later. In fact he was honoured as one of those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." 

Anyway, poor man, he's now become the pretext for a celebration of human love which, of course, has been well and truly cashed in on (losing the "Saint" bit on the way). I have to admit I'm not immune from it. A couple of weeks ago I bought a tasteful card which told Jane just what I thought of her - and then to celebrate for lunch we drove out through the spring sunshine to Aston Pottery, and chomped through our massive baps gazing into each other's... opposite each other!

Listening to Desert Island Discs on Friday, I heard Howard Jacobson, winner of the 2010 Booker Mann prize, talking about why he liked being married (he's been married three times). I loved this part of his answer: “I think I need to be looked at with love to be certain I’m there. Maybe I need to see myself in the beloved’s eyes, to see a nicer version of myself than is either actually the case, or than I fear might be the case.” 
Kirsty Young So it’s that idea that if there’s someone that you regard as a good person regarding you well then you can’t be all bad.”
“Absolutely that; it’s as if I can’t trust my own version of myself.”

It helps to know that God looks at us like that too - all the time.

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