Did you notice? As the stores were pulling the Christmas candy off the shelves, they were replacing it with Valentine’s candy, not to mention cards, stuffed animals and red lingerie. It is one of the most commercialized holidays in the U.S., bringing in 19 billion dollars each year!
Why do we celebrate love, especially romantic love, on this day? No one knows for sure, but it all goes back to the third century and a saint named Valentine. He was a priest or deacon who defied the emperor’s law that Roman soldiers could not marry. He thought it would make them soft. St. Valentine secretly married couples and was arrested for it. While in jail, he taught the jailer’s blind daughter about Christ. He also wrote letters to other Christians encouraging them. He would sign them “from your Valentine”. After trying to convert the emperor, he was sentenced to death by beheading. At the moment of his death, the jailer’s daughter’s sight was restored. He died on February 14.
St. Valentine’s love of God spilled over in his loving others, even to the point of death. Let’s try to keep that in mind this St. Valentine’s Day and show love to those who may not feel loved or may be lonely. As everyday missionaries we could give a valentine to a widow or shut-in or that homeless guy who hangs out under the overpass. We could make their day by letting them know they are loved and remembered.
Prayer to St. Valentine (courtesy of www.aquinasandmore.com):
Dear saint and glorious martyr, teach us to love unselfishly and to find great joy in giving. Enable all true lovers to bring out the best in each other. Let them love each other in God and in God in each other.