St. Valentine hated premarital sex, conducted Christian marriages for young lovers and was martyred for what he believed in.
Valentine’s Day may be associated with romance, sexual immorality, indecent behaviours among young ones but the origin of this special day (holiday) is not the way it is being painted.
St Valentine’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death and burial which occurred around AD. 270. He was said to have been martyred on February 14.
St. Valentine’s Day was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honour of Valentine the Christian martyr.
History has it on record that Valentine was a Roman Priest who served during the third century in Rome ministering to Christians.
During that time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families and outlawed marriage for young men. That law forbade men from marrying and it also affected the Christians who St. Valentine ministered to.
On realizing the injustice of the law made by Claudius, St. Valentine defied the law and continued to perform Christian marriages in secret for young lovers. To remind the men (soldiers) of their vows and God’s love for them, he cut heart shapes from parchments and gave it to them. This is a possible origin of the widespread use of heart shapes on St. Valentine’s Day.
When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Emperor Claudius ordered his arrest. From there, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death. While in prison, his prayers miraculously healed Asterius the jailer’s blind daughter who visited him during his confinement. He fell in love with the young girl afterwards.
It is alleged that on the day of his execution, he wrote and left her a letter signed:
“From your Valentine”; an expression which is still in use today. After his death, St. Valentine became known as one of the most popular Saints in England and France.
Why is Valentine’s Day associated with sexual immoralities and lustful vices today? Is it because people do not really understand the meaning of this holiday? I guess this is why the ‘Saint’ is removed from ‘Valentine’ and only ‘Valentine’s Day’ is emphasized.
The Saint being celebrated on this day 14th February was a Priest. He was neither immorally inclined nor associated with youthful vices. He encouraged proper marriages in the love and fear of God and not ungodly dating with sexually oriented outings.
Let us stop associating St. Valentine’s Day with attitudes and actions that contradict the legacy which this celebrated Priest has left behind.
One lesson which we must learn from the life of St. Valentine is forthrightness (straightforwardness). He was a very straightforward man.
Also, leaving a note for his lover even in the face of death is a very great behaviour to be commended. Though he was going to die, he didn’t forget Asterius; the young girl with whom he was in-love. That is the type of love that Jesus showed us. He came to the world because of love and carried us in His heart even to the cross.
Most of the ‘love’ shown on valentine day these days is sensual, selfish and self centered. If you are truly going to love someone today, let it be a genuine and selfless love.