Valentine's Day 情人节

每年的二月14日,人们欢度情人节(原文的意思是“瓦伦丁纪念日”)。但是对于这个节日的历史,人们却是不十分清楚。绝大部分人都认为这个节日是起源于第三世纪的一位的罗马教士。故事说到了罗马帝国的皇帝克劳迪亚斯二世规定他军队里的年轻人在服役的时候禁止结婚。因为克劳迪亚斯二世认为单身的军人才是好战士。但是这位教士,(有的说他的名字是华伦提诺斯但是有的却说他的名字是瓦伦丁),却不同意皇帝的逻辑,他就为年轻的军人举行非法的婚礼。当局发现瓦伦丁为年轻军人举行婚礼之后,就把瓦伦丁投入监狱,最后处于死刑。

另外一个传说或者故事,有另外的情节。说瓦伦丁在监狱的时候,那个典狱长的女儿来看他了,慢慢地瓦伦丁就爱上了这美貌的女子。在他被处死之前,他向她送出了第一张情人卡片。事情是这样被传说的,他给他所爱的典狱长女儿写了一封信,落款是“来自你的瓦伦丁”。直到如今,所有的情人节的卡片都保持着是这样的落款。

随着时间的迁移,传说也变得越来越罗曼蒂克并祝贺热恋中的二位。情人节已经变得很商业化了,好像非得购买一些花束、糖果、卡片和礼物送给相爱的或者追求的才行。

情人节给我们提出了一个问题,“什么是爱?”“爱”作为一个名词,有以下的一些意思,1 是一种深深的、温柔的感觉;2)内心里一种强烈的追求或者吸引;3)一种在心里的强烈感情。作为动词,“爱”又表达以下的一些情况:1)拥抱和爱抚;2)有肉体上的关系;3)热情地喜欢和追求;4)活力和迫切需求(比如,我“热爱”氧气)。

爱是不容易被解释,也不容易给爱下定义。那么多年以来,(真的是许多许多年了),人们对“爱”用不同的句子来描写。请看下面的句子,看看你是否同意这样的说法:

  •            爱是永恒的
  •             不同的人对爱有不同的看法
  •             到处都有爱
  •             爱需要我们来组控
  •             爱是商业化的
  •             爱是个人的
  •             爱是痛苦的
  •             爱只是一种传说而已
  •              爱穿越所有的界限
  •             无止境
  •             爱的代价太大

这里引用了一些关于爱的名言。你对这些名言有什么看法?

“黑暗无法驱散黑暗;只有光明才能够。仇恨不能击败仇恨,只有爱才能击败仇恨。” 小马丁·路德·金,选自 《对希望的见证 必要的写作和讲话》

不爱人的,就不认识上帝,因为上帝就是爱。 使徒约翰 选自 《约翰一书 第四章第8节》

“如果你花时间来论断别人,你就没有时间来爱他们” 特瑞萨修女

“被爱得到力量,爱人得到勇气” 老子

人为朋友舍命,人的爱心没有比这个更大的。” 拿撒勒人耶稣 选自 圣经《约翰福音 第十五章第13节》

“上帝爱世人,甚至将祂的独生子赐给他们,叫一切信祂的,不致灭亡反得永生。” 拿撒勒人耶稣 选自 圣经 《约翰福音 第三章第16节》


讨论问题:

1. 你是否赠送情人节卡片给一些人?你是否也收到情人节的卡片?

2.  当两个人相爱的时候,他们会相互赠送什么样的礼物?

3.  你是否相信“真爱”是存在的,还是仅仅是一种传说而已?

4.  爱有时会是痛苦的吗?

5.  你对于课文中所提到的,特瑞萨修女关于爱所说的那句话有什么想法?

6.  你是否同意课文中所提到的老子的那个说法?

7.  你对于圣经《约翰福音》三章16节,那撒勒人耶稣所说的话有什么看法?

Valentine’s Day is celebrated each year on February 14th. The history of the holiday is not known for sure. The most popular belief is that the day is named after a Roman priest from the third century. The story is told of how Emperor Claudius II banned his soldiers from marrying while they served in the army. Claudius believed that single soldiers made for better soldiers. The priest, Valentinus or Valentine, disagreed with the logic of Claudius and performed illegal weddings on behalf of young soldiers. When it was discovered that Valentine was doing weddings in secret he was imprisoned, and later put to death.

Another legend, or story, tells of how Valentine was visited by the jailor’s daughter while he was in prison. He grew to love the young woman and shortly before his death he sent the very first “valentine” greeting. The legend says that he sent a letter to his love and signed it, “from your Valentine,” an expression which is still used today in the sending of Valentine Day greetings.

Through the years the legend has become more romantic and celebrates the love between two lovers. The holiday has become more commercialized with the purchasing of flowers, candy, cards, and gifts to give to one’s love or romantic interest.

Valentine’s Day raises the question, “what is love?” As a noun love is defined as 1) a deep, tender, feeling of affection; 2) an intense feeling of desire and/or attraction; 3) a strong emotional attachment. As a verb love may be defined as 1) to embrace or caress; 2) to have a physical relationship; 3) to like or desire with enthusiasm; 4) to thrive on or need. (Example: I love oxygen.)

Love is difficult to explain or to define. Throughout the ages (over many years) people have explained love in a variety of statements. Look over the following statements about love and see if you agree or disagree:

  •          Love is forever.
  •          Love means different things to different people.
  •          Love is everywhere.
  •          Love is arranged.
  •          Love is commercial.
  •          Love is personal.
  •          Love is painful.
  •          Love is a fairy tale.
  •          Love crosses all boundaries.
  •          Love has no limits.
  •          Love costs too much.

Here are some other famous quotes about love. What do you think about the following quotes?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

“But anyone who does not love does not know God-- for God is love.” – John, the Apostle, (1 John 4:8 of the Bible)

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  Mother Teresa

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  Lao Tzu

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – Jesus of Nazareth, (John 15:13 of the Bible)

 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – Jesus of Nazareth (John 3:16 of the Bible)


Discussion Question:

1.    Have you ever sent someone a Valentine’s Day greeting? Have you ever received one?

2.    When two people love (or like) each other, what kind of gifts do they send one another where you live?

3.    Do you believe that true love exist or is it a fairy tale (myth)?

4.    Can love be painful sometimes?

5.    What do you think about the quote from Mother Teresa?

6.    Do you agree with Lao Tzu’s statement?

7.    What do you think about the last statement from Jesus of Nazareth (John 3:16)? Have you ever heard this quote before?

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