Two Views on February

On the Feast of St. Valentine, priest and martyr, I wrote but did not share:

It’s Valentine’s Day—our chocolate-covered, cherry-filled, and rose-scented celebration of what passes for romance in a wonderless age. Named for a priest who was imprisoned and beheaded for secretly marrying second-century Christians, today Valentine’s Day has renounced its sainthood, elevating desire and satisfaction over its patron’s self-denial and sacrifice. Perhaps it is not surprising—we’ve watched the rise of the vampire romance in recent years, and February is a vampirous month, bloodless, pitiless, cold, and pale; short-lived and yet interminable. Ironic that it should be “the month of love,” since no one loves February except by accident, birth, or misunderstanding.

And then a day breaks like this:

Hoarfrost on cherries, St. Michael Catholic Church, St. Michael, Minn.

No matter how deeply we may pine for it, the death of winter is neither pretty nor enjoyablethe season, once virginal and white, is condemned each year to drown in its own juices and filth. So it is that a thick layer of hoarfrost like the one last Sunday morning (and again today) is not the spiteful parting shot of a dying man, but a beautiful reminder that we’ve been blessed to live in this beautiful world, through another wondrous winter. 

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