Benefice Letter for February

Welcome to February when our thoughts turn to love!! Although the weather may be cold, love can always keep us warm. Of course, in the secular world, the focus of love in February is St Valentine’s Day. The first official Saint Valentine's Day was declared on 14th of February by Pope Galasius in 496, in memory of a 3rd century martyred priest in Rome. It is believed that the young priest rose to distinction after betraying Emperor Claudius in 270 AD by conducting illegitimate wedding ceremonies in the capital. Emperor Claudius claimed that married men made poor soldiers and consequently decreed that all marriages of younger citizens would be outlawed. Bishop Valentine, however, maintained that marriage was part of God's plan and purpose for the world. He continued to conduct marriages in secret between young people, sometimes as young as twelve, in the name of love.

His success gained him unwelcome notoriety, which became Bishop Valentine's downfall. He was jailed and ultimately beheaded, but not before he fell in love with the jailer's daughter. It is thought that on the evening of his execution the bishop passed her a note which read "from your Valentine". This story has blossomed into the defining tradition of Valentine's Day.

However, we learn so much about love from the Bible, particularly from the letter of St Paul to the people of Corinth. Chapter 13 tells us “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I wonder if we could all think about these attributes and see how we can best use them – for ourselves and for others?

As always, in the cold weather, please remember to show some love to our neighbours, particularly the elderly and infirm, to make sure they have all they need and are ok. Share the love!!!

With every blessing from the Rectory,

Annie x

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