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Unloved on Valentine’s

Posted by spritzophrenia on February 14, 2010

What do you do when you’ve lost your love? When it’s your fault, and there’s nothing more you can do about it? A spirituality that can take pain and enfold it into meaning is a great comfort. I could use that right now.

I normally don’t make too big a deal of Valentine’s Day. As it happens, we don’t know much about St Valentine. He existed, but has very little to do with that Oh-So-American commercialised day of romantic lurve. Even the catholic church has relegated him to an almost-not-saint because we simply don’t know anything about him.

Wikipedia says Valentinus is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name “Valentine”, derived from valens (worthy), was popular in Late Antiquity. Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried at the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14. It is even uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name. For this reason this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the Catholic calendar of saints for universal liturgical veneration as revised in 1969.

The name “Valentine” does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, compiled by the Chronographer of 354. The feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implied, nothing was known, even then, about the lives of any of these martyrs.

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.” ~ Sara Teasdale

Today I reflect on the Hebrew god, who is often compared to a lover or a spouse who is spurned (see Hosea). In a slightly different context (motherhood) Jesus laments being rejected by his people “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I longed to gather you in my arms… but YOU WOULD NOT.” A god who is rejected by his lover is one I can relate to right now.

She will not, and I? I am left holding my innards together like a soldier gutted by a bombshell. Hoping that one day I’ll stop feeling this, and paradoxically begin to feel again.


One Response to “Unloved on Valentine’s”

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