Have an Erotic Valentine's Day
Dear old and new friends,
The King of Valentine’s Day is Cupid, the Roman god of love, depicted as a chubby naked child with a bow and arrows. So perilous are his arrows it was believed anyone pierced by one would fall in love with the first person they encountered! The Greek god of love was also a youth or child called Eros from which came the name for sexual love.
Valentine’s Day is a Fiesta of friends and lovers of all ages—and of all kinds of love. The hub of God’s message to us is love, and outward from it radiates our duties: care of the poor, being a promoter of justice and a peace maker, personal prayer and treating any stranger as your neighbor. Since duties of loving come from God, we would be wrong to presume they call for spiritual love. We are not angelic spirits; we are humans in whose bodies God has implanted natural urges such as Eros, physical sexual love. Eastern Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware says, “Eros, understood as physical, sexual love, is an important aspect of Christian love….”
(I’ve interrupted this quotation so you can pause to ponder that last powerful sentence by slowly rereading it. Now, this master of Eastern Orthodox spirituality continues….)
“We shouldn’t make a sharp contrast between Eros, meaning sexual love, and agape, meaning Christian love,” says Bishop Ware. “Eros and agape are two aspects of a single reality.”
Unfortunately, over the centuries Christianity has condemned erotic love as evil and sinful except in marriage. Our humanity suffers grave damage attempting to suffocate our divinely implanted sexual drive undergirding all our love. Those with religious promises of chastity, or those of advanced age, should never repress their erotic sexuality, but transform it. The exotic in our loving of one another, family and friends is wholesomely transformed into affectionate “doing” in myriad ways. As says the old wedding text, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” So rejoice in Eros and Agape’s holy union.
Scripture professor and pastor, Father Roger Karban has gifted us with a truly refreshing meaning of “holy.” He says scripturally holy doesn’t mean pious or sanctimonious, but other or different! A holy person isn’t one who is always praying but rather constantly acting differently than the rest of the crowd. A holy lover is one who loves unconventionally, and the gods Cupid and Eros are excellent examples of unique loving since they often are shown blindfolded!
The Teacher implies we should be blindfolded lovers who ignore another’s church/religion or politics and who love regardless of the other’s beauty or repulsive face and body. Blindness gives a heightened sense of hearing, so self-blinded lovers hear the inaudible, excruciating wailing of those longing to be loved…and respond.
Pretend on Valentine’s Day, and in the days thereafter, to be blindfolded so you can stumble around sightlessly as an undiscriminating, erotically saintly lover.