Today being February 14th is an opportunity to reflect on "Valentine's Day" and its quite interesting source.
Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint who - though little is known about him - is associated since the High Middle Ages (1100–1350) with a tradition of courtly love. Now that ("courtly love") in itself was a phenomenon of that period in that it is also associated with the troubadour tradition which is of an interesting source.
A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry. It is commonly believed that the troubadour school or tradition began in the late 11th century in Occitania (and subsequently spread into Italy and Spain and related movements sprang up throughout Europe). But reading Idris Shah's book The Sufis gives quite a different slant on the origin.
The true source of the troubadour appears to have come from European contact with a branch of the Sufis, who even today exist as a mystical development of Islam, but in various guises. And the Sufis -who include such spiritual giants as Rumi and ibn al Arabi - proclaim love as their raison d'etre. Not ordinary (human) love, but divine love.
Such, therefore, is the now relatively mundane tradition that is maintained every February 14, little realising its high origin - of remembrance and love of God. But Jesus, of course, said that the Divine Law is essentially two-fold: remembrance of God ("with all thy might") and also to love thy neighbour "as thyself". Jesus's commands are therefore akin to the Sufic traditions referred to earlier and are common to all true religion.
It would be wonderful (would it not?) if we were all to reflect today on those words of Jesus and help to transform the morass of selfishness and hate that visibly exists in the world today. There are those, of course, who still live by love for others, but there are so many examples of selfish behaviour, even by sons towards their mothers.
The mother represents the highest form of human love. She bears her children and brings them up with willingness to sacrifice all for their benefit. Yet it is often the case that when the child gets to a certain so-called adult age that they think they know it all and dare try to take control of their mothers, sometimes in a subtle way. While enjoying Valentine's Day with their partners they even say hurtful things to their mothers. I believe that to hurt one's own mother is a mortal sin which is very difficult to eradicate: we often seem to fail to transmit this so-important value to our sons and daughters.