Marketors’ Chaplain Canon Dr Alison Joyce’s virtual sermon for St Valentine’s Day, 14 February, considered the types of love.
She recalled that in a previous job, she drove daily past a Roman Catholic Church which displayed a sign reading “In All Things, Love”, followed by a pierced heart. The symbol seemed very inappropriate in that setting. “Typical of the erotic desire usually associated with St Valentine’s Day” she thought – and a bit naff!
Alison later discovered that the St Valentine’s pierced heart symbol was not as she had presumed. It was actually linked in medieval times to the five wounds of Christ. The piercing of Christ’s heart came to symbolise God’s boundless compassion and love for us.
A compassionate heart though, she learned, would always feel pain. The true heroism of love can remain hidden from view. For example, acting as Carer for a loved one, sometimes for years, can demonstrate the costly price of love. A Benedictine Nun, Sister Mary David, said that facing such difficulties with others transforms natural love into Christ’s love. If we practise forbearance, God will turn our love into Christ’s love.
But if we wound one another, it is Christ who bears the pain of our aggression and violence.