Saturday, February 14, 2015

St. Valentine's Day

St. Valentine receives a rosary from Our Lady.

The may behind the stories surrounding St. Valentine is obscured by pious legend. As a now-anthropomorphic Bear who was once used as a saint's pack-animal, the Bear certainly isn't going to hold that against him!

St. Valentine was probably a 3rd century martyr. He is the patron saint of (no surprise) engaged couples and happy marriages, bee-keepers, plague, and epilepsy. But now, above all, he is associated with romance. One is expected to give one's spouse a romantic card; to a wife, perhaps some chocolate or roses, or some other token of affection.

Of course, today, there are detestable cards such as this one:

Hey, at least they got it right.


Catholics are so easy to buy presents for. Yesterday we celebrated by going to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, and Catholic Supply in St. Louis. My spouse had ordered me a beautiful Douay-Rheims Bible from St. Benedict Press, and picked up a lovely birthstone rosary at Catholic Supply. (Peridot. There's no such thing as a girly rosary.) The Bear can't wait to take it for a spin later today.

The Bear got his mate a knitting needle organizer, which, on account of the vendor's incompetence, will not arrive for several days. But he was able to find a rosary booklet from the Magnificat publishers so she would at least get something this morning.

A couple of observations.

First, the Bear has chronicled the decline of the Snows' gift shop. It is in sad shape. Repeated questions to shop girls were greeted in the negative. Votive light holders? No, but we have the candles. The Little White Book for 2015 that accompanies the Bear's breviary? No, we don't have those anymore.

At least they have plenty of priests, so we could take advantage of the 11 a.m. confession

Catholic Supply, fortunately, continues to carry a good stock for your devotional needs. The Bear would prefer a more diverse selection of books, especially Bibles, and would get rid of the Richard Rohr and Medjugorje junk, but even so, he found the Navarre commentary on the Minor Prophets.

Secondly, speaking of rosaries, with all due respect to St. John Paul II, doesn't it take a lot of guts to change the Church's premier devotion and break its symbolic link to the psalter? Old news, yes, but we're seeing the attitude writ large lately. What ever happened to the idea that we should preserve the Church to hand on to future generations as we received it from the ages? Aren't we in the mess we're in precisely because our leaders have failed to recognize this?

Just a thought. Anyway, A belated happy Valentine's Day to all the lovers among his readers.

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