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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Saints & Angels: The TLB Prime series! St- Valentine Edition!

Everybody has guessed which saint we will "discover" or re-discover in this edition - so let's get to it! Saint Valentine is in fact... three saints! Three martyrs! It could be any one of the three or more likely an amalgamation of the three martyrdoms that spawned the legend that we know today. As we will see, for some reason, Love and Death go together as a horse and carriage... Dean Martin sang for the rhymes, of course, so he had love and MARRIAGE going together as a horse and carriage. But I digress...
Of the three Valentines that could be "our man" here, there was this "priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death."
More believable stories have it that this priest really only sought to "help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured" and that this was the true reason of his putting to death...
After all, even today, with ever depleting clientele, name me a priest who is putting in any extra effort to find more happy customers to get married in his parish... hmm? They are not - in fact, most priests are still turning down customers that they deem "not ready to be wed" for some reason! It is thus very hard to imagine that there was, at any point in history at all, a priest who ever risked life and limb (or... his head) in order to perform the sacred rites of marriage...

And the angel today, obviously, will be one of the myriad, ah, "speculative ones". After all, "the only Scriptural names furnished of individual angels are Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel, names which signify their respective attributes. Apocryphal Jewish books, such as the Book of Enoch, supply those of Uriel and Jeremiel, while many are found in other apocryphal sources, like those Milton names in "Paradise Lost"... and anything of the sort a thousand and one other authors have come up with over the years!
Come on now - you didn't really believe Cupid to be "for real" - did you?
Santa Claus has more credibility - in my book! The ABC show starring Jeremy Piven had Cupid likely being a mental case anyway, and not who he purported to be. "Cupid" is really but the Roman identity of another mythology character: Eros, Greek god of Love. When one thinks of Eros, one has to think of his brother - Thanatos. Eros and Thanatos are always found closely associated, somehow... for some reason. Even Woody Allen knows so much... after all Love and Death (the movie this time) was certainly one of his better movies (even if all it really is, in the end, is but a send-up of War And Peace...)
However, Cupid loved Psyche and hence we have another allegorical reference to yet another one of the mysteries of life - love and reason, and love having its reasons that reason cannot fathom sometimes! Cupid, like Hermes and many a pagan deity (not to mention fairies also) shared a lot of traits attributed usually to heavenly attendants (angels). Hence the image we have of him nowadays - that of a cherubim! Cherubs should sue...
For there is deception here - even in the original concept! At one point, it seems as though there are two Cupids!
One that spreads love indeed (the one that was recuperated for this holiday-that-isn't-one-really here, obviously) and another for unadulterated "riotous debauchery" - nothing less!
If this is angelic behaviour, it is that other kind of angels then... the tempting ones, perhaps...?


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