Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tuesday's Time To

Today's Tuesday's Time To is devoted just to ...


We don't celebrate St. Valentine's Day on 14th February just because the secular world tells us to. We celebrate our love for each other, and for our Saviour, every day. But on St. Valentine's Day, it is lovely to be able to make a special celebration of that love, in all its abundance. Our love is fundamental to our marriage and our family - and is the cornerstone not only of our earthly relationships, but of that with our Father God, and for this reason, our marriage is a reflection of His glory - a divine institution created by Him. We offer up our thanks to God for joining us together, and for being present in our lives every day, as we work to serve Him and fulfill His plan for us both. It might not always be easy or fun, but it is always worth celebrating!

C. S. Lewis, in his book "The Four Loves" explains that there are four types of love - "storge", or unconditional, relational love, "philia", or platonic, friendly love, "eros", or passionate, romantic love, and finally "agape", or limitless, sacraficial love. This last, is a spiritual love given to us by the Holy Spirit, and is the most fundamental of all 4 forms. Without this, we cannot truely do our work as Christians. Described in the Bible as "Charity", it is a form of love, unlike passionate love, that we have to choose, and work at. But it is a beautiful, joyful love, that allows us to have compassion for others, to sacrifice our own needs for those of the people around us, whether we want to or not, and which helps us to grow in our relationship with God. It is a charitable love which moves and motivates us, and which enables us to understand, as much as we can in our limited, human way, the infinite, powerful and unconditional quality of God's love for us.

Of course, a fully mature Christian will know all 4 sorts of love, as they function both within their earthly marriage and the wider family, and as a member of God's Holy Church. And I believe that on St. Valentine's Day, rather than merely celebrating the "eros" love of romance and passion that the world focuses on, we should look to celebrate all four loves, as we look around us, and thank God for all that He has blessed us with. How lucky we are, to know true love - God's love! Let's allow ourselves the privelige of celebrating St. Valentine's Day not just as earthly lovers, but as Christians who know the divine love of our Saviour also.

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity
". (1 Corinthians 13, 4 - 13).