Happy Valentine’s Day.
February 14th is often commemorated with sugar comas, pink roses, and balloons. Somehow this is to convey a sense of deep commitment and romance. It is one day out of the year that you are supposed to put extra effort forth to make a significant other feel valued. Why do we emphasize it on just one day?
Today is actually not a Hallmark holiday. In fact, the celebration of love remembered today has Christian roots. Sadly, with the secularization of nearly every holiday Christians celebrate, the significance of the holiday’s memory has often been lost.
In 269 at Rome, a priest was martyred. This priest had the last name of Valentine. During a time when Christians were being persecuted by Emperor Claudius, Valentine chose to defend his views. Young couples were not to be wed at that time because it was thought that a young soldier would be too concerned with his family and therefore, not focused on winning a battle. Also, polygamy was common then. The concept of one man and one woman was quite foreign to Roman culture under Claudius’ rule. Many individuals took an interest in Christianity and as such, wanted to pledge themselves to one another person, forsaking all others. Valentine performed wedding ceremonies for these Christian couples. When his secret ceremonies were discovered, he was asked to deny his faith. He refused and as a result, was beaten then beheaded.
Valentine remained true to Christ and his love of the faith ran red as blood squirted from his severed head. Christ showed immense love for humanity in willingly being pierced on the cross. Jesus’ love ran ruby as thorns dug into his brow and the lashings on his back collected splintered wood. Our Savior’s love is a treasure. St. Valentine devoted himself to a relationship with the Savior because he knew such love was a precious treasure.
Today we celebrate love because another didn’t give up on love. May we continue to love our neighbors as ourselves and love the Lord our God above all else.
Happy Valentine’s Day—in memory of a great Christian—the patron saint of love and marriage.