Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

My effort in this article is to take an entirely different approach. I want to suggest that Valentine's day is a cultural barometer and an invitation.

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer fully reveals man to himself (John Paul II)

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Love, Valentine's day, St Valentine's Day, Eros, Agape, Filios, Kenosis, God is Love, romantic love, lent, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - Thursday, February 14, 2012, is Valentine's Day. It is one of the most popular of our predominantly secular holidays in the West. Before you assume I am going to join in the critiques of the holiday in some Christian circles by decrying its commercialism, or assume I will try to find some way of confirming the existence of a verifiable St Valentine in order to situate the day within a religious message, please read on. .

Who knows? Maybe there really was a St Valentine.The various accounts point in that direction. Maybe attempting to give that kind of a religious ground to the day through hagiography has merit. And, maybe there is value to critiquing the commercialism which has accompanied the day. However, it seems quite apropos in a culture being suffocated by a materialist ethic precisely because it has lost its soul and forgotten God.

My effort in this article is to take an entirely different approach. I want to suggest that Valentine's day is a cultural barometer and an invitation to mission.

My beloved wife of thirty seven years, best friend, mother of our five children and "Mimi" to our six grandchildren, has a birthday on February 13th. So, I regularly find myself in a card store in the midst of the frenzied crowd searching for Valentines cards every year. I always get one, along with the Birthday cards, and this year was no different. What was different was the massive size of the crowd and the fact that these two days also fell at the beginning of an early Lent.  

I have been a Deacon of the Catholic Church for seventeen years and this liturgical season has become a special time for reflection, repentance and deep examination of conscience. This year, my experience of the size of the crowd encouraged more than irritated me. I saw men and women who are hungering to express their love. It brought to mind these words from Blessed John Paul's first Encyclical Letter, the Redeemer of Man:

"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself". (Gaudium et Spes, 22)

"If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created!"

The truth is that we were all created out of love and for love. We came into being as a great creative act of Love. The God who is Love, a Trinitarian communion of perfect love in perfect unity, fashioned us in His Image and invited us to respond in love. Redemption is a re-creation in Jesus Christ, who is Love Incarnate. The beloved disciple John who wrote the most cited words of the Gospel which bears his name, "God so loved the world that he sent His only Son" (John 3:16) also wrote in his beautiful first epistle that God is Love and he who lives in love lives in God, and God in Him" ( 1 John 4:16)

The New Testament was written in Greek, a language which has several words to speak of different kinds of love; the love between husband and wife; the love between family members; the love between friends; and the Love of the God. It also has a word to describe the greatest act of Love, the condescension of love, the great self emptying love of Jesus Christ.   Unfortunately, English does not. 

However, all human love participates in and is perfected by God's love. In other words, the very need for love is a need for God. It is written into our spiritual genetic code. Our very hunger for love is meant to draw us back to the One who is the Source, the goal and the fulfillment of all love.

So, on this Valentine's Day, I suggest the fact that the Holiday seems to be growing in popularity is a form of cultural barometer. It shows us that no matter how secularized the culture has become, the hunger for love is an invitation to live the message of the fullness of God's Love in a visible, compelling and attractive way. This age is populated by men and women who are primed for the Gospel precisely because they are so parched for the fullness of love we have to offer.

I further suggest that, as with past missionary ages, we reconsider the haranguing concerning Valentine's Day and "baptize" it. A proper approach to inculturation invites us to consider how this secular holiday can be Christianized. How can it be used as a part of our missionary approach at the beginning of the Third millennium? I do not believe we live in a post Christian West. Rather, we live in a Pre-Christian West. The huge crowds in that card store reveal the field which is ripe for the harvest.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find-even within the huge cities of the world-opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More U.S.

A world without nuclear weapons Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

At any moment, you could be within 30 minutes of being incinerated from nuclear weapons! You are in harm's way if you live in or near a large U.S. city or major military installation. And considering that radiation fallout from a nuclear attack would hurt virtually ... continue reading


Pokemon Go player with CCW halts attempted robbery Watch

Image of A Pokemon Go player has halted a robbery.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Pokemon Go player with a concealed weapons permit stopped a robbery in Las Vegas. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Good for one Pokemon Go player who stopped a robbery thanks to the Second Amendment, which allows Americans to protect themselves. A group of six ... continue reading


'I was thinking as long as I have my hands up ... they're not going to shoot me.' Police fire shots at unarmed black therapist as he lies on the ground asking not to be shot Watch

Image of Officer shoots unarmed black man then cuffed him (WSVN).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey was attempting to calm his autistic patient, who had run away from a group home, when officers arrived on the scene and shot him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to WSVN, officers in North Miami responded to a report of ... continue reading


DEADLY heatwave settles over U.S., here's what you need to know to stay safe Watch

Image of Most of the U.S. under alert.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The worst heatwave in years is here and it will scorch the entire country from Central California to the Great Lakes, to New England. The heat will be dangerous and persistent. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Ask people what the most deadly weather phenomenon is ... continue reading


Texas female teacher slammed to ground - White officer claims blacks have 'violent tendencies' Watch

Image of Breaion King was slammed to the ground for not moving her legs.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A disturbing video was recently released over a year after a white Texas officer slams a black second-grade teacher to the pavement. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video was recorded on the officer Brian Richtor's dash cam. He pulled second-grade teacher ... continue reading


'Here the church is their family and they know they are loved': The Church reaches out to Hispanics Watch

Image of Over half of Catholic millennials in the United States are Hispanic.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Louisiana's Diocese of Shreveport has hired its first diocesan for Hispanic youths. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hispanics compose over half the United States' Catholics yet several states offer little to no Spanish-language or Latino-centered church groups.The ... continue reading


Deacon Fournier on the Parable of the Sower, the Seed and the Soil Watch

Image of The meaning of the agrarian parables that Jesus used has become increasingly clear as I watch those fields become green every Spring. Of course, preceding all of this, there were barren looking fields, seemingly lifeless, that is before the seed was sown. Preparing the ground for the seed involves hard work, cooperative weather and the goodness of the God who created this beautiful and fruitful world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Living Word has been sown within us. We must assist in cultivating the ground of our hearts in order to be more fully transformed by grace and reflect the Image and Likeness of God. We are called to grow in holiness and allow the Risen Life of Jesus Christ to ... continue reading


305k believers gather in Washington DC to pray Jesus 'resets the generation' Watch

Image of Tim Tebow makes appearance and speech (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hundreds of thousands of Christians met at the National Mall in Washington D.C. this weekend to join together in an event aimed at resetting the generation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to its website, Together Reset believes there is power in ... continue reading


Who Are the Mother and Brothers of Jesus? We Are! Watch

Image of Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. We are the mother and brother and sister of Jesus

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. When we choose to be obedient to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of the "family" of God; ... continue reading


God's Not Dead 2 Billboard deemed too 'provocative' while atheism ads go unnoticed Watch

Image of Atheist group spreads hate unchallenged.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Notorious atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has purchased billboard space near Cleveland airport to greet the Republican National Committee (RNC). Meanwhile, a pro-religion message has been disqualified. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Religious ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Friday, July 29, 2016
  • Popular country singer sings powerful, MUST-HEAR song to 'Pray for Peace'
  • St. Martha: Saint of the Day for Friday, July 29, 2016
  • How to be a missionary of mercy: Bishop Caggiano blows minds at WYD
  • A Prayer for Special Intentions HD Video
  • A world without nuclear weapons
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, July 31st, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:5, 8-10, 14
5 God, you know how foolish I am, my offences are not hidden from ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2016 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This ... Read More