Valentines Day – What it’s Really About
I know this may come as a shock but Valentines day is not about overcrowded aisles in Wal-mart filled with stuffed teddy bears pleading to “be mine” and chocolates waiting to be had, all while a small crowd of shoppers elbow their way to find just the right combination of gifts for the people in their lives. I’m not trying to come across as an old curmudgeon who wants to be the wet blanket. I’m all for love and sharing love, but not because consumerism told us we should on this particular day.
Valentines Day Roots
Valentines day historical roots are not found in American commercialism, it’s roots actually go back to Saint Valentine and he did not own a greeting card company nor was he a florist or candy maker. What we do know about Saint Valentine is that there were two of them, one a bishop martyr who died in the middle of the third century and one a priest martyr who died around the same time. Our tradition of Valentines day tends toward the priest martyr as he was known for sending notes of encouragement to fellow Christians who lived in fear of persecution, arrest and death. Ultimately both of these men were killed for their Christian beliefs.
St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on February 14.
Whichever saint the holiday is based upon, we do know that Valentine did really exist, because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to St. Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
So while we may not know with certainty which Saint Valentine inspired the modern day celebration, I think it is safe to say that both men would be astonished by the aisles of many stores filled with items bearing their name!
How do you celebrate Valentines Day?
Originally February 14th was called “Say ‘I love you’ Day”. It would be nice to return to this tradition by letting the people in your life know how much you love them, and not just your sweetheart! You can use this day to call up a friend, drop a note with your neighbor, send a note to your priest, or make it a point to let the people you come in contact with each day know how much they mean to you. The best part is you do not have to spend a dime to write a simple Valentines note.
Saint Valentine Prayer
Dear Lord, who art high in the Heavens,
Giver of Love and Passion,
And He who strings the heart’s cords,
Lead the Lovers this day, February ten plus four.
The day during the month of two,
When the date is the perfect number of God
Greater two souls and two hearts.
Some Loves are fleeting ,
But that which is built on you will never fail.
So guide the Lovers to know what is to be.
Your truths the Lovers’ mouths should speak,
For Your truth is that which is honest to the heart.
Only this, then, should pass over the red lips of the Lovers.
Your art, the Lovers simply a medium.
It is only with True Hearts that You can create a Masterpiece,
So let the Lovers remember that their Soul’s Desire
Is the one for which You light their Fire.
And let it be You who creates the Art of the Lovers;
The art of two into one.