Who was St. Valentine and What Can We Learn From Him?

Calendar with February 14th encircled with a red heart

Do you remember being single and thinking, “If I only got married, I’d always have someone for Valentine’s day,”  or maybe you’re still there.

I thought the same way in my single years.  I remember feeling frustrated with myself and my life many times as February 14th arrived.  I ached for someone to kiss or hold on that day.

What about when we were little?  Remember the Valentine’s you passed out at school?  My kids do it too.  I remember being the little girl and getting that little note from a boy in the class, my tiny heart jumped.  Sure, he handed out notes to everyone , because that’s what the teacher required, but I knew I was special.

We all want to feel special, to feel loved. Love glues this day on the calender each year and keeps it coming back for thousands more.

We know little about the man Valentine, a priest who lived under the Roman Emperor Claudius II.  We know he was beheaded, we don’t know why.  But that’s the stuff that begins great stories.  Chaucer made it infamous back in the 1400′s with his “Parliament of Foules.”

St.Valentine died around 280AD (archaeologists found his tomb), he later became a Saint in the Catholic church. Fourteen other Catholic Saints had the name Valentine too. In 496, Pope Gelasius I created the Feast of St. Valentine, celebrated on February 14th. We don’t know if the day celebrated the one Valentine or the many Valentines.

Pope Gelasius I might have created the celebration because of Valentine’s great Christian reputation.  He might have done it because that’s what Popes do.  He might have used this day as an alternative to the fertility rights celebration which happened between February 13th-15th called Lupercalia.

Whatever reason Valentine’s Day started, it’s had some serious sticking power.  Why?

These quotes say it all:

Love is a many-splendored thing.” (movie title and song title)

All the world loves a lover.” William Shakespeare

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

We read about it, write about it, dream it, hope for it, listen to its music, dance to it song and no matter what, love lives on.

By 1969, St. Valentine’s Day seemingly lost it’s luster and Pope Paul VI had it removed from the Catholic calendar because of how little we know of this man. Yet, we still celebrate; Catholic, Protestant, non-denominational, atheists, and all.  This day hits a note in our heart that we want plucked.

As for the man (or the men), if I had a guess, I’d say he never made a big deal of what he did.  He simply did what he felt called to do as a minister of Christ Jesus.  Others did the praising.

That’s what we can learn today.

Receiving affection is nice, but giving love starts with us.  To be a lover, we must give to others and appreciate them.  Maybe we’ll receive reciprocation and maybe we won’t.  Valentine didn’t.  Jesus didn’t.  Many don’t.

I read a wonderfully detailed article about 100 ways to make your marriage rock where the author gave great practical loving ideas.  I’ve written about how to love your spouse or your children.  But love must start with a decision -not a gift or a kiss- a decision to love without seeking a return on investment.

Today’s Choice:

Show love to the people who matter.

 

Related Articles:

 

Did you enjoy this post?

At each corner of life, we face choices. Every day, are you heading God's way?

Get email updates (free)!       

Subscribe to Faithful Choices by Email
About Paula Whidden

Wife, mom, author, speaker, former full-time youth and children's pastor turned stay-at-home-mom. Paula created www.FaithfulChoices.com to help people see and understand how our choices affect our destination in life, in marriage, in parenting and in social media. Paula wrote "25 Days 'Til Christ: An Advent Devotional for the Family" now available on Amazon.com. She is currently working on her second book to strengthen marriages.