Friday, February 13, 2009

"Dedicated to love"

1) Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!!
2) Please pray for our Youth Group that we will have a fruitful weekend at the Mount 2009 retreat in Emmitsburg.
Here is a brief summary of the origin of Valentine’s Day provided by

“Although the mid-February holiday celebrating love and lovers remains wildly popular, the confusion over its origins led the Catholic Church, in 1969, to drop St. Valentine's Day from the Roman calendar of official, worldwide Catholic feasts. (Those highly sought-after days are reserved for saints with more clear historical record. After all, the saints are real individuals for us to imitate.) Some parishes, however, observe the feast of St. Valentine.

The roots of St. Valentine's Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.

Pope Gelasius I was, understandably, less than thrilled with this custom. So he changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine's name.

There was also a conventional belief in Europe during the Middle Ages that birds chose their partners in the middle of February. Thus the day was dedicated to love, and people observed it by writing love letters and sending small gifts to their beloved. Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first real Valentine card to his wife in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. (He, however, was not beheaded, and died a half-century later of old age.) “

As tomorrow is a day “dedicated to love”, it is fitting to include some reflections on love from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is love”):

“3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. Let us note straight away that the Greek Old Testament uses the word eros only twice, while the New Testament does not use it at all: of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, which occurs rather infrequently in Greek usage. As for the term philia, the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint John's Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. The tendency to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love…

5… the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity…True, eros tends to rise “in ecstasy” towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing.

6. Concretely, what does this path of ascent and purification entail? How might love be experienced so that it can fully realize its human and divine promise? Here we can find a first, important indication in the Song of Songs, an Old Testament book well known to the mystics. According to the interpretation generally held today, the poems contained in this book were originally love-songs, perhaps intended for a Jewish wedding feast and meant to exalt conjugal love. In this context it is highly instructive to note that in the course of the book two different Hebrew words are used to indicate ‘love’. First there is the word dodim, a plural form suggesting a love that is still insecure, indeterminate and searching. This comes to be replaced by the word ahabà, which the Greek version of the Old Testament translates with the similar-sounding agape, which, as we have seen, becomes the typical expression for the biblical notion of love. By contrast with an indeterminate, ‘searching’ love, this word expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other, moving beyond the selfish character that prevailed earlier. Love now becomes concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking, a sinking in the intoxication of happiness; instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice…”


At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the party on the 21st be called Samedi Gras instead of Mardi Gras?

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

A friend sent me an email about the Red Envelope Project, and I thought I’d pass the info along-

Send a RED envelope to President Obama (envelopes available at Staples or a party store). The idea about this isn’t about politics but changing one man’s heart. Anyone who recognizes that they themselves have changed in their own lives has to believe in that hope. It is estimated that over 100,000 envelopes have already been sent in only the past three weeks. I’m a visual person, so I like the thought of all these bright envelopes flooding the White House mailroom- in great numbers, they’ll be hard to miss.

Put nothing in the envelope, seal it and send it to:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back of the envelope write:
“This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.”

(I prefer “life begins with conception,” for I think “responsibility” begins long before conception, but I quoted the project)

Unrelated to this, but the White House has a comment line where you can voice your thought and/or concerns. Here’s the number-
Phone- 202-456-1111

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

“Fat Tuesday” gained its name by the Pagan tradition of parading a fat ox through town. It was customary to engage in excessive eating and drinking and general debauchery before a fasting period. But, from one who knows first hand, “Fat Saturday” is also a big (ahem) “celebratory” day. I’m amazed I survived!

Btw- my first Mardi Gras, I did the thing no one should- picked-up a doubloon with my hand while everyone else was stamping on them with their feet to claim; I broke a finger. Hopefully, the “krewe” at the SAA celebration will be kinder and gentler to its fellow revelers!

Anon 3:48- the Mardi Gras party at SAA last year was fun- you should go and Laissez Les Bon Temp Roulez! Maybe I'll go too...

At 4:11 PM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

At the Lutheran church in which I grew up, the tradition was to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. At the Lutheran church we currently attend (alternating with SAA) the pancake supper/Mardi Gras is the preceding Saturday.

This coming Saturday happens to be a friend's 40th birthday. She'll be celebrating at Blob's Park in Jessup.

Me: Do you want to go to Mardi Gras at church, or to (friend)'s birthday?
Him: Basically that's a choice between eating pancakes and drinking Church Lady Punch, and eating brats and drinking beer.
Me: So...there isn't really a question.
Him: The answer is obvious.

It's been a goodly while since we've been to Blob's Park, anyway.

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’d like a clear cut definition between eros love versus filial love.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:27 pm Anon:

Try the following web site:

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recollection of eros vs. filia love is the following; eros love is sexual love, romantic love that has tremendous passion, physical longing, deep intensity, and intimacy while philia love is brotherly love, personal love who's roots or origin stems from an attachment or a desire to serve the greater community.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get confused sometimes in dealing with relationships between men and women, platonic relationships. I've had relationships with men that are "brotherly" in nature, void of physical desire and contact but filled with attraction. There was one relationship, long ago, that I walked away from because I felt a closeness though NOT romantic or physical (and would/could never go there), because I thought there was something wrong with loving a member of the opposite sex to that degree. Was I wrong?

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:53 message

Its hard to understand your question. This relationship that you walked away from might be brotherly but with attractions presents mixed feelings. You can love someone of the opposite sex like you love a brother(assuming you are a woman). But in your short description it sounds more than a platonic relationship. And if you are dating or married I would say it would be wrong. You can be close to others, but you do not want to commit something called emotional adultery. Its where you are consumed by this other man/women that would make you neglect your present relationship. Where you are more excited to see this other person and is so worried about how they see you. Were you open to your current boyfriend or husband about this attraction? If not, then that attraction you talked about eventually would/could of became physical. So you aren't wrong from walking away, if that is your question. It just seem like possible problems for you.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree to your comment, it sounds like a closer relationship than brotherly love. And if it was a relationship you were confused on then there were feelings that weren't healthy for your current relationships. Ending it or just walking away was smart. You need to keep your dedication of your love in the right place-God, family and spouse maybe not in that order. Good luck.


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