February 14, 2012 by eneubauer
St. Valentine is known as the patron of love, young people and happy marriages. Hence, St.Valentines day has become a celebration of love – with flowers, candy and cards being part of our modern expression. Its hard not to mention that we have done a great job of commercializing this event – placing certain expectations on individuals to purchase all sorts of goodies to mark the occasion as an act and sign of our singular devotion to a particular individual. I have participated in this holiday with joy and have embraced it as an opportunity to show and share my love for wife, children, family and friends.
However, after a short study on the history of Valentinus I now make a few observations about this day that I have not made in the past. First, let us remember that Valentinus was a temple priest – placed in prison during the reign of Claudius the Goth. Valentinus was not only marrying Christian couples but was aiding any Christian suffering persecution under Claudius’ reign. It is believed that Valentinus, while in jail for his defiance against the dictates of his emperor, came under the good graces of Claudius. This relationship ended when Valentinus tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. At this point tradition tells us that Valentinus was beaten with clubs, stoned and beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate in or around AD 269.
Therefore, while we celebrate St. Valentines day – marked with gifts and goodies for love of person let us be reminded that this particular day was instituted because Valentinus had the resolve to stand up against unjust laws for love of Christ, Church and people.
Today, may we follow this martyrs lead and stand firm in the conviction(s) of our common faith.