Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day is coming....

Clipart Picture of a Valentine Card in an Envelope


Yes, yes it is. And, if Bob is consistent, I will be having a fabulous Valentine's Day on Saturday. Bob is great about letting me know he loves me everyday, but he knows what this day means to women, so he is really great about doing something special on Valentine's Day. And I appreciate that about him. I haven't had a disappointing Valentine's Day in 13 years...
However, when I think about St. Valentine, my thoughts are not of romance. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, Valentine has not been on the Calendar of Saints for a long time, mainly because there is no evidence that he existed. That doesn't mean he didn't exist, just that we don't have evidence, so we don't know how much is legend and how much is true, and we don't want to tell fables as fact. Makes perfect sense to me.
There are several different legends about Valentine. One is that Emperor Claudius believed single men made better soldiers than married men, so he outlawed marriage for young men so that he would have a better drafting pool. Valentine was a priest who performed the marriage ceremony anyway. Claude didn't like that, so he had Valentine put in jail.
His jailer's daughter was blind. Valentine prayed over her and cured her. She was grateful and sent him letters which began "to my Valentine...". Valentine was martyred. People remembered his help in marrying couples, and voila, he becomes associated with romance...
And there we have one legend. But not my favorite one. My favorite one begins with St. Valentine being a priest who was very effective in teaching the people about Jesus, especially children. The children loved Valentine and came to listen to him teach about Jesus every day. Well, Claudius didn't like that. Spreading Christianity was illegal, and obviously Valentine was spreading Christianity big time. So Valentine was put in jail.
But the children continued to love Jesus and Valentine. They would bring notes of encouragement to St. Valentine, telling him how they love him and Jesus, which became known as Valentines.
While neither story has any proof, I like the later because it leaves no one out. It does not equate love with romance, but with thoughtfulness and encouragement. Any of us can cut out some paper hearts, write John 3:16 on them, and a note of encouragement for a neighbor, a grandparent, someone who is suffering with an illness....etc...
Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to share Jesus with someone, isn't it? I gotta love St. Valentine for that, whether he is a legend or not...

7 comments:

katdish said...

Yeah...I agree. I like the second legend much better!

I was so clever...I decided to get married as close to Valentine's Day as I could, thereby assuring that my dh would never forget our anniversary. Result? He never forgets our anniversary, but I never get a Valentine's Day gift. So, I guesss I'm not so smart afterall...

Gabrielle Eden said...

Helen, I did a post on St. Valentine last year. It's amazing that we have this national holiday based on a Christian who was martyred for his faith. And we aren't a nation forged in faith in Jesus - right!

Ryan B said...

Thanks for this Helen. Good post. I didn't really know a whole lot about St. Valentine until I read this. Now I'm intrigued. Wikipedia here I come.

Helen said...

Katdish, what does he do when you give him his Valentine's Day gift? Doesn't he feel odd, staring at it with nothing to give you in return? Hmm, men!
Gabrielle Eden: You did? Were my facts okay? Well, were my legends up to date?
I agree, we are a nation forged in faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, many fellow citizens seem to beleve that separation of Church and State means that they shouldn't ever have to hear the name Jesus unless they are in Church. If it is an "ecumenical" service, perhaps even then...
Ryan B, Thanks. Apparently you could also check out Gabrielle's blog. I trust her to have done a good job. I believe she probably did a better job than I did, and I haven't even seen hers. See, I read her blog a lot, and she is very thorough. She doesn't just ramble on like I do, either, but gives lots of information.

sherri said...

Very intersting as always Helen. I like knowing about these things. I like the second legend best.

I thought you did a thorough job without alot of rambling.

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Helen said...

Thanks, Sherri. I hope you have a great Valentine's Day, too.

pip said...

HI Helen

My girlfriend and I are both working Valentines. I am going to be making so much pasta that night it'll be coming out of my ears.

Interesting side note... the heart of St. Valentine is in a reliquary in a Carmelite church in Dublin.