Valentinus ~latin for Saint Valentines
While enjoying my heartfelt cup of coffee earlier today, I came across some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day. As we know it, Valentine’s means red roses, heart-shaped chocolates wrapped in silky trendy ribbon and Michael Bublé singing the night away. I recently found out that I Pastor in the 2nd most romantic city in America, Seattle. Romance and Love are saturated in our community and yes, even our coffee.
The other day, I was randomly asked if I hate Valentine’s Day and I chuckled with a grin on my face. My responds was simple and to the point. If I hate Valentine’s, I would hate Love; and God is Love.
“But anyone who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love.” (1 John 4:8 NLT)
What most dudes will not admit, is that each of us have a romantic side. It’s built within our nature to Love. As humans, we Love God and God designed for us to Love another. I believe in Love, even in my season of singleness. One of my pet peeves, is when singles become bitter and cynical. Love, and even sex within the context of marriage, is a great gift from God.
“Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and LOVE-and the greatest of these is LOVE.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)
What I was not aware of, is the history of Valentine’s Day, until I came across a few articles.
According to the Huffington Post, there were reportedly three early Christian saints named Valentine. But the saint that derives from the holiday, likely comes from a Roman priest during the 3rd century A.D. under Emperor Claudius II. During that time, Claudius banned marriages among young couples. He believed that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers. During great turmoil of the Roman Empire, Claudius felt he needed all the soldiers he can get.
Saint Valentine believed marriage to be God-given and sacred. He began officiating marriages among couples in secret.
“Saint Valentine was eventually beheaded and then named a martyr by the Church because he gave up his life to perform the sacrament of marriage: for love of love and love of God.” (As quoted by the Huffington Post)
What was more intriguing, Christian Broadcasting Network conducted an interview with father Frank O’Gara. He broke down the history of Saint Valentine and had a great few points. I do not believe in Catholicism, but as a Jesus’ Follower, I found a few interesting points. While Saint Valentine was imprisoned by Rome for officiating marriages, he continued his missional work even in prison. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.
“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, who’s daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.” ~ Frank O’Gara
The priest continues to say:
“What Valentine means to me as a priest, is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that — even to the point of death. If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time where you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?”
I leave you to deeply ponder on the following:
What if we Loved the way God called us to Love. Beyond the romance and Disney fairy tales, what if we discovered the authentic Love that holds all things together. Standing for truth is not a popular trend; but what if you believed in that truth so deeply, you became sold out for the cause no matter the cost.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34 NLT)
Are you willing to return Love, even to your enemies, without reservation?