This is more along the line of a Public Service Announcement than a blog post. But, I hope you give it serious consideration nonetheless.
Send a Valentine to your True Love this Valentine’s Day.
I’m not talking about your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, spouse or even your mom, dad, brother or sister.
I mean your True Love – our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Valentine’s Day is publicized all over the place right now, and has been since the day after Christmas. It’s wonderful and beautiful to have a day on which we’re nudged to express our love and affection for those folks we care about.
We should do that.
But, we forget – or perhaps some of us don’t even know – that Valentine’s Day used to be St. Valentine’s Day and is named after a third century Roman saint who was arrested, condemned, and beheaded by Emperor Claudius II for refusing to give up his Christian faith. He was executed near the Flaminian Gate and buried nearby. Pope Julius I later build a basilica over his tomb. Today, relics of St. Valentine can be found all over the world. In fact, there’s a vessel tinged with his blood in Whitefriar Church in Dublin, Ireland. That’s the blood that St. Valentine spilt at his beheading.
Why? Because he was a great lover. Not in the sexual sense, but in the Jesus sense.
It was Valentine’s great love for Christ that gave him the strength and courage to stand up to the Emperor and his cohorts. That same love gave him strength and courage to comfort other martyrs and minister to them while in prison.
Legend has it that he married couples so that the husbands would not be required to go off to war. It also says that he cured the jailer’s daughter of blindness and on his execution day left a note for her signed, “Your Valentine.”
Thus we have the custom of sending pretty little notes of love – Valentines – to our loved ones and friends on Valentine’s Day.
In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar because so little is known about him. Still, the Church honors him as a saint and martyr.
We should, too.
Not only that, but I think we should strive to become the kind of lover St. Valentine was – to give our all for The Beloved, our Lord Jesus.
In the spirit of St. Valentine, we should pray for the grace to face martyrdom – whether it’s the white martyrdom of day-to-day struggles and hardships or the “red” martyrdom of giving up our lives – this Valentine’s Day.
Also, in his spirit, we should extend that love of Christ to others. Because of his love for God, St. Valentine loved his fellow human beings. He served them, cared for them, and stood strong with them in the face of evil.
When we look at all the bright red hearts scattered everywhere we look, maybe we can think of the bright red heart of St. Valentine, who was martyred for the sake of the Bright Red Heart that was pierced for us on the Cross.
That Bright Red Heart deserves a special Valentine, a statement of our love and devotion and symbol of our gratitude for his great sacrifice.
Jesus Christ is your True Love.
Don’t forget to send him a Valentine!