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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

14 February 2014: Linda Cawsey, Petersfield Methodist Church

A Gift on St. Valentine's Day

The publication for this week's Herald falls on St. Valentine's Day. Officially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine died around AD270. However, enough confusion surrounds his true identity that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognised saints. This is particularly fortunate for lovers, whom the saint is supposed to watch over.

Whether or not you will be invoking the help of St. Valentine with your secret love, it is good to take pause and remember the pleasure of receiving a word of love or an act of kindness whether from family, friend or stranger. It is probably the case that technological isolation has led to many people seeming to be disconnected to others - except to their smartphones. Certainly we have seen some cruel behaviour and threats made by some on the internet towards others. But it would be shallow to blame electronic devices alone. People often feel in present-day life as though they haven't time to think about personal conduct. We feel steamrollered by the pace of life and impatient of those who get in our way. Doctors and nurses especially have come in for criticism recently for no longer caring about their patients.

On this particular day, let us pause for reflection. During Jesus' ministry on earth he hardly had a moment to himself. We read that he was mobbed by thousands of people wanting to touch him, hear him or just see him. Nevertheless, time after time, he would stop and single out the person in need of healing, the widow ignored by others, the prostitute despised and rejected - the person in need of an act of kindness. The modern world asks a great deal of the individual. It can be a driven, confrontational place. All the more reason, then, to remember what truly matters. What act of kindness will you perform today?


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