Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentine, Pray for us!

On this day that the world celebrates love, we celebrate a man in love with our LORD.

Unfortunately, the secular nature of Valentine's Day often overshadows the religious origin of the feast. Below is the history of St. Valentine for you to enjoy! I encourage you today not only to show others how much they mean to you, but to take some time to reflect on how much God loves you!

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular wars. Claudius was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed the reason was that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.

Valentine was a priest at Rome at this time. He and St. Marius began performing marriage ceremonies in secret. For this work St. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome. Valentine was condemned to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.

While in prison his work continued. Many of the men and women he had helped came to his cell and threw flowers and notes through his cell window. Valentine converted his guard to Christianity and even miraculously restored the sight of the jailer’s daughter who was blind. The day before his death Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.” He suffered martyrdom on February 14th, about the year 270.

In ancient Rome that day was a holiday to honor Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage. The following day began the Feast of Lupercalia.

At this time boys and girls were kept separate and seldom had any interaction. On February 14th, the eve of Lupercalia, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners with her for the duration of the festival. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often they would fall in love and would later marry.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome wanted to do away with the pagan element in these feasts. The fact that Lupercalia fell on Valentine’s feast and that he was so strongly connected to love and marriage, made him the perfect choice to Christianize the festival. Through the years, this celebration of Lupercalia and the story of St. Valentine have evolved into the holiday the entire world celebrates today.

St. Valentine – Pray for us!

Today let us focus and be grateful for what should be our primary relationship: our relationship with God! It is only through His love that we are able to express our love to those closest to us...our spouses, children, family members. God, thank you for loving me unconditionally. Lord, help me today to accept and live in the gift of your love, and help all of my relationships to be rooted in you and to be a mirror of your love. I love you, Lord!

"God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
We love because He first loved us." - 1 Jn 4:16,19

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