Valentine's Day is one of the most popular and exciting celebrations all over the globe-- and for a good reason. After all, what can be more exciting than to celebrate the emotion and act of "love" this February 14th, 2020?
Although Valentine’s Day is dedicated to the life and work of a Roman Catholic saint who lived in Ancient Rome, many attribute the holiday to the Greek mythological gods, Cupid, Aphrodite, and every other figure believed to embody love. As Christians, however, it is important that we seek and learn the beautiful history behind this holiday.
The reason why we celebrate Valentine's today is because of Pope Gelasius I, but when he declared February 14 to be the feast day of Saint Valentines, no one really knew which 'Valentines' he was referring to.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were three Saint Valentines, and all three served God in unique ways. One Valentine was the bishop of Terni.The tradition of his being patron saint of lovers finds its origin in an ancient English text by Geoffrey Chaucer, according to whom birds start mating on Valentine's Day. Another Valentine was believed to have been a priest who oversaw marriages in distant Christian communes in the Roman Empire. Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriages for young Christian men so that they could become better soldiers, but Valentine as a priest continued to perform marriages going against the emperor's will. This is why the emperor Claudio II ordered for him to be put to death end behaded on Via Flaminia, a famous road in Rome that from the center of Rome led its travelers all the way to the Apennine Mountains.
History may give us conflicting accounts behind the individual who inspired Valentine’s day, but if there's one observable trait we can point out from all the three saints, it's this: they all loved the community they served and they dedicated themselves to inspiring others to love.
Valentine's Day was a very obscure holiday until famed writer and poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, began writing about a 14th century priest who inspired the holiday. While it is largely believed that Chaucer's Saint Valentine was more of an invention rather than a real person, the holiday gained popularity, and is now celebrated all over the world even in non-Catholic communities. Modern media, however, might advertise Valentines in a more liberal manner. Lately, there has been a strong emphasis on buying expensive gifts on Valentines Day, as advertised on TV and other forms of mass media. While these are acceptable ways to show someone we care for them, the best way to celebrate this religious holiday is to sincerely express our love and care for another person, especially our enemies.
Prayer is, and will always be, the most sincere gift you can give to the ones you love, be it your partner, significant other, spouse, family, and friends. Your partner's and friends' spiritual health need nurturing, and if they find themselves unable to do that, be a loyal friend and include them in your prayers. Pray for their peace of mind, their good health, their prosperity in their work, and most importantly, pray for their protection against evil and temptations.
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." - James 5:16
God loves a cheerful giver, not just for the Valentine season-- but for all seasons! If you don't know what to get your loved ones, think with your heart. In all holidays where gift-giving is expected, it's always more ideal to be sincerely generous, than to be half-hearted with your gift-giving. There exists a misconception that expensive gifts matter more during Valentine’s Day, but do not be carried away by consumerism. Instead, ask yourself what you can afford and what you honestly feel would make your recipient happier.
When it comes to special religious collections, our collection of religious jewelry and Catholic gifts are sure to pass on your message of love. Our catalog features red rosaries, as well as blessed crucifixes of all shapes and usage.
"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." - 2 Corinthians 9:7
Uh-oh, has someone offended you but hasn't shown any initiative to ask for forgiveness? While it hurts to be the receiver of someone's anger or unfairness, it's also important to remember that humans can experience moments in their life where they are spiritually weak. This season, allow Jesus' actions to guide you: when He was betrayed by his apostle, Judas, then later Peter, Jesus opened up His heart to them and granted them His forgiveness.
On Valentines Day, make the first move-- reach out to someone who may have offended you, and send them your love and your forgiveness.
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:31-32
Finally, if you are the recipient of a gift, or if you are worried about what to get your spouse or significant other, bear in mind that the martyrs who inspired Valentines Day lived in poverty, and yet, they gave all they had to their community. This Valentines, remind yourself constantly that the reason for the season is LOVE.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." - John 13:34
Check out our BLOG: CATHOLICALLY TODAY: LOVE, PRAY, WRITE to read more interesting articles.
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