Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine was a Saint not a Chubby Angel

Who was Saint Valentine?

St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D, a time when the church was enduring great persecution. His ministry was to help the Christians to escape this persecution, and to provide them the sacraments, such as marriage, which was outlawed by the Roman Empire at that time. For his belief and practice, St. Valentine was arrested, and imprisoned for his refusal to deny Our Lord and embrace the Roman gods.

While in prison, St. Valentine continued to minister, even witnessing to those who guarded him. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked St. Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was miraculously given her sight, demonstrating the power of the One True God. The guard and his whole family, 46 people in all, believed in Christ and were baptized. The emperor was furious about this, so he had St. Valentine beheaded.

St. Valentine’s knew that he could be arrested for his belief and Christian ministry. He knew that refusal to recognize the Roman gods would result in imprisonment. And he knew that if he continued to witness to Christ in the prison he would make his captors angry, and would probably result in his death. But he continued, because he loved the Lord and his fellow humans. He was willing to risk his life in being an instrument in the healing of the blind girl’s infirmity, and in doing so spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who needed to hear it.

This is briefly who St. Valentine was.

"Be My Valentine." This is a phrase that conjures up a lot of different images associated with the celebration of Valentine's Day. Cards with hearts and little poems on them. Candy and flowers given to someone one we love. Young and old alike expressing their affection for their sweethearts. February 14th, for our culture, means cards, candy and flowers.

Somehow, this feast of the church has been skewed to include snapshots from pagan mythology, such as cupid, with the focus of the day only on romantic love. For most, it is a shock to hear that this is a day to remember and celebrate the life and martyrdom of a Christian Saint.

-Bishop Demetri of the Eastern Orthodox Church
hat tip: Ad Orientem 

---------------------------------- Another Take: --------------------------------

Almost nothing is really known of the martyr Saint Valentine who is buried in Rome and whose feast has, bizarrely we might say, become synonymous with love and romance the world over.
There are plenty of theories but no hard facts. One is that it is actually Chaucer and his cronies who granted him his cupidity- another that he was historically the patron saint of lovers- and yet another that the connection arose because birds begin to pair around the date of his feast!
What we do know is that he was a priest and we believe he was probably killed in the persecution of Claudius the Goth. His remains were buried on the Flaminian Way and a basilica was erected in his honour in 350.
Perhaps we might ditch the saccharine fluff that will pass for romance in the commercial world and instead give thanks to God for a faithful Christians whose deeds are really only known to Christ. I image there are quite a few saints like this scattered throughout history. It is the sort of saint we ourselves might strive to become.
-Fr. Ed Tomlinson, from his blog

No comments: