On Thursday, Feb. 14, think of a man. He was a young priest, wholly committed to his faith in Christ. When it was declared by the state that soldiers could not marry, he performed their weddings secretly. Once discovered, he was offered an ultimatum, stop or die! He chose death as the ultimate expression of his faith and commitment to virtue.
While imprisoned awaiting execution, he befriended a jailer’s daughter. They corresponded through letters that were secreted between them by those sympathetic to their circumstance. Shortly before his execution, he wrote and sent a letter to his beloved friend pronouncing his deep affection for and appreciation to her. The letter’s salutation read ‘from your Valentine‘. He was subsequently executed.
Valentine’s gold and black casket is on display this time of year at the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. Pope Gregory XVI reportedly gave the relics of Saint Valentine to the church as a means to promote Catholicism.
This lore is a reminder that love is a great power in life. To the extent that it is shared between two people, it is a dynamic force for creation and healing and of inexhaustible supply. For many, Valentine’s Day is a day on which romantic love is expressed and declared through exchanging tokens, spending tender moments together, and through sexual intercourse.
However, Valentine’s Day is about the worthiness of love and marriage of our dearest personal sacrifices. We must be grateful today that we love and are loved. Gratitude compels us to recall the intensity of emotions and devotion that attracted us to each other as a couple. Celebrating our love helps to keep it fresh as when we first fell in love with one another.
Hopefully, we are still falling… Happy Valentine’s Day!