Pure love – a wilful concern for the welfare of the other expecting nothing in return other than the joy of concern – is a life-time affair. To be in love is to make a life-time commitment to stick for each other in good times and, yes, even more so when things aren’t so good. Anything worth loving is worth dying for.
This is what St. Valentine’s Day was meant to be all about.
For many, Valentine is a special day of sharing romantic love. However, for some, Valentine’s Day is a special moment to celebrate a mark of faith and sacrificial love. As Bishop Valentine emphatically proved true love, like faith, is costly. Devotional sacrifice is the price one must pay to attain and retain that which one loves. St. Valentine, like countless other martyrs of Faith, proved his love for Christ through his devotional life and through his sacrificial death.
For the benefit of those that are unaware, St Valentine was a Bishop of Terni in Italy. According to Wikipedia, he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were illegally denied to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Pagan Emperor Claudius II attempted to get Valentine to deny Christ in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Thanks to this, he was sentenced to death.
While on death row, he is reported to have prayed for the healing of Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. Consequently Julia and other 44 members of Asterius household believed in Jesus and were baptized. Before his execution on the 14th of February of the year 278 A.D. Valentine wrote Julia a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell. Ever since, February 14 has been celebrated as Valentine’s Day in his honour.
Valentine has taught us that anything worth living for is worth dying for. Throughout his life Bishop Valentine lived for Christ by loving the people Christ lived and died for – the underprivileged, the hurting and the lonely. Even as he waited to be executed Valentine selflessly reached out to the broken-hearted.
For Me, Valentine’s Day is all about proving our love for Christ. It is now time to reaffirm our faith in Christ by sharing His love with those that need it the most – the Julias!
My apologies if I sound as if I’m trivialising romantic love. As we know God, not only invented it, He is actually love itself. If He is indeed love, then, romance – within appropriate parameters – must be holy and acceptable . If God happens to bless you with intimacy (and I’ll be genuinely happy for you) get down on it! You must properly and graciously enjoy it to the max- for His glory…
However, as we enjoy the gift of love let us remember those that aren’t as lucky. In what ever we do – being it visiting prisoners, comforting the hurting, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, defending the vulnerable, sheltering the homeless, or hosting the strangers – let us do it for Christ.
Lest we forget, love is for life, not just for Valentine’s Day…
(** This quote is from unknown source)