Sunday, February 6, 2011

Flowers, cards, and chocolate

For those of us who are married, or soon to enter into that state, February is (whether we like it or not) the month of Valentines, hearts, flowers, cherubs, pink and red. February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, is important not only to wives and fianc├ęs but also florists, greeting card vendors, chocolate companies, and restaurants. Perhaps you remember the 7-11 commercial from a few years ago. As I recall it, a young woman is shown in the Valentine’s card aisle of a larger store, agonizing and agonizing over which card best expresses her depth of feeling. Then we see a young man purchasing his Big Gulp in the local convenience store, and, seeing the display on the counter, says to the clerk, “And, oh yeah, this too,” handing over the top card from the rack. The final scene shows the same young woman collapsing in tears over the completely, absolutely perfect expression of affection her boyfriend provides in that very same 7-11 card.
Because we know so little about St. Valentine – there may have been several early Romans name Valentinius, at least one of whom was a soldier and martyr for the faith – the Church no longer honors him on the official calendar. But we do know that there was a martyr who witnesses his love for Christ by the sacrifice of his life. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, which includes the passage instructing wives to subordinate themselves to their husbands, also instructs us:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her. (Eph 5:25).
That is, our wives are to subordinate themselves to us so that we can sacrifice ourselves for them. Which shows the greater and deeper obligation, subordination or sacrifice? We see how our wives give of themselves almost out of a natural impulse for their children, grandchildren, parish, friends, and, yes, their husbands. Our obligation is to ever more completely offer ourselves over to our wives, our family, our Church.
By the way, how much time do you spend in selecting the perfect card? Happy Valentine’s Day!
Deacon Rex Pilger
February, 2011, Newsletter, St. Joan of Arc Knights of Columbus

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