Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lovers & Martyrs

 Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

In our home, Saint Valentine's Day is a highly anticipated feast. We love getting crafty, eating well, and basking in sweet words; this year was no different. Our celebration began on the Eve of Saint Valentine with a rose and poem (Eve of Saint Valentine by Tom Hood). But for me, true romance begins with strawberry cream cheese croissants, and to my delight, such was my surprise this morning!

 Croissant and roses; sweet gifts from my valentine.

On this great Feast of Saint Valentine, we celebrated by having Felicity and Cordelia send out homemade valentines to our family and friends.

In the evening, we dropped off the girls at grandma's and dined at Le Bouillon in Omaha's Old Market. 'Twas delicious and quite the culinary experience! But alas, we opted to be old fashioned and not take photos of our food.

We are so grateful for this beautiful feast. As good as our meal was, what makes this day so enjoyable is knowing that romance does not consist merely in the delights of life, but in the suffering as well. St. Valentine's Day is the feast of both lovers and martyrs, and the paradox of romance embraces them both.

This year, my husband composed a prayer to St. Valentine to be sent out with the valentines. Sancte Valentini, ora pro nobis!

Saint Valentine, patron of valiant love
St. Valentine is patron of valiant love, that particular love the pursuit of which is difficult but worthwhile.
Who, elevating husbands and wives
The marriages St. Valentine performed in secret were not natural marriages merely, but were elevated to the dignity of a sacrament by virtue of the couples’ baptisms.
To Cana’s sacramental wines,
Christian marriage is here referred to as Cana’s sacramental wines, wine being the quintessential sacramental element, and the new wine of Cana signifying the grace which Christ effects in the lives of those who experience the sacrament of holy matrimony.
Set the romance of martyrdom above
True romance is characterized by suffering, which any romantic would affirm, and yet is not suffering only, but a suffering that has as its end the love of another. Hence, both valiant love and martyrdom may easily be seen to be romantic. It is no wonder the word has as its namesake Rome, the place of both lovers and martyrs. 
Pomegranates and chocolate troves
These gifts from God are also archtypes of erotic love, and are set below romance, for though such may be included, they are not of the essence of romance.

Pray for us, that the light of Christ
This is a paraphrase from St. Valentine’s own prayer from the Golden Legend.
Illumine this house in such wise
In his prayer, St. Valentine prays for God not only to illumine the blind daughter of the judge in whose custody he finds himself, but also for the whole house to be made illumined spiritually.
That its dwellers may in their lives
Know Him to be God and not miss
In the Parliament of Foules, Scipio asks the way to heaven of his grandfather, who replies in essence, first know your eternal end, who is God, then work busily in light of that end in order not to miss the path (St. Valentine’s Via Flaminia) to the gate Christ opened and which leads to heavenly bliss.  
The path that leads to heavenly bliss.


  1. This is a beautiful post with lovely traditions Cecily! I added it my Valentine foodie post at the top here: http://www.asliceofsmithlife.com/2017/02/10-simple-valentine-food-ideas-for_15.html

  2. What beautiful traditions your family has! I love the poem and prayer.