Would you be my martyr?

Seasonal things you can expect in the Catholic online world:
1) “Real meaning of Christmas”
2) “Real meaning of Easter”
3) “Real meaning of Halloween”
4) “Real meaning St. Nicholas,” etc.
Including
The cool thing about Catholicism is that this is not the paradox it first seems.
There are many reasons given for the connection between St. Valentine and love.  One is supposedly the letters he wrote from prison (then why not Ignatios of Antioch or another of the Fathers?)  Another is that supposedly he wrote specifically about marriage (again).  Then there is the issue of *which* “St. Valentine” we’re talking about.  Supposedly, the first historical reference associating St. Valentine’s Day with “romance” is in Chaucer.
Regardless of the seemingly arbitrary association, we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection by eating candy, so why not a Saint’s?  “The pain now is part of the happiness then,” as Joy Davidman says in _Shadowlands_ (forget if she actually said said that in real life).  To borrow from _VeggieTales_, the “hope of Easter” allows us to see the joy and humor in death. 
[54] And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Cor 15:54-55, Douay).
If you can’t joke about something as silly and trivial as death, what *can* you joke about?
The paradox was best phrased by a cartoon I saw today that said, “Will you be my Christian martyr? Now you see why I find this holiday confusing.”
Actually, it shouldn’t be.  Christian love is supposed to be about martyrdom.

Love is supposed to be about self-sacrifice.  Gifts we give in love are symbolic of the greater sacrifices we are supposed to make for others.

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6 responses to “Would you be my martyr?

  1. I am sorry to say that the image you posted that you think portrays the Western saint Valentine of Rome IS NOT! The image is in fact St Valentin Sventitsky one of the many New Russian Orthodox Martyrs under the Bolsheviks. It is the only icon like it in which our monastery had commissioned many years ago by a local iconographer Gregory Melnick. We, the Orthodox Hermits of St. John the Divine, request that you honor the Russian Saint by removing it from the internet. cf.: http://hermitage-journal.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-martyr-valentine-sventitsky.html

    The Least in our Lord’s Service,
    Father Symeon salo

    • Appreciated, though I shared it for the meme text, not the iconography. 🙂

      • And the meme text is deplorable to us which is the second issue after the mistaken identity of the saint.

      • Please elaborate. I’m curious which aspect you find offensive, as we may be in agreement. You realize it’s criticizing the secular aspects of Western “Valentine’s Day,” right?

      • The abuse by consumer culture of the day commemorating the Roman Bishop St Valentine is its own issue; up there & Easter. Here our concern is 1.) the mis-identification of a Russian Orthodox priest martyr for the Latin Bishop martyr and 2.) we consider the imposition of “meme” wording upon what is considered a sacred image (ikon) to Orthodox Christians as a sacrilege, a defilement. Thus an offense to the second largest Christian Church in the world.

      • Well, that “own issue” is the issue I’m addressing. If it’s sacrilegious and offensive, I don’t see why it would be any more offensive to Orthodox than to (Roman or Byzantine) Catholics, who also revere sacred images.

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