So, Valentine’s Day is here … and I hate making generalizations, but most of us fall into one of these two categories:
- We embrace this day because we have adopted the view that it’s all about doting on the new or old love interest, or
- We hate it because it is one of the most self-conscious days of the year—the dreaded “single awareness” day: That infamous day when all insecurities about not having a love interest are exposed.
Now, stop just for a minute. Take a breath, and look at a bigger picture. Try not to think about which one of those crowds you fall under and let’s take a trip back in time to Rome in the year 300 AD during a time of great persecution. The Emperor, Claudius at the time, passed a law prohibiting marriage to further his agenda to force men to join the Roman army so that their focus would be on fighting recklessly for the state and not back at home with their wives. (Messed up, right?).
Now of course, you can imagine the disapproval of not only the Christians, but of anyone, romantically engaged or not. Engagements and marriage ceremonies were forbidden-and so one of the seven sacraments was also prohibited.
What St. Valentine Did
One man in particular, a priest in Rome named Valentine, was especially disheartened by this decree. In opposition, he performed the sacrament of marriage to couples in secret. He was eventually caught, imprisoned, and sentenced to death. While he was being held in confinement, he befriended the jailer’s daughter, who was blind. He miraculously healed her of her blindness, and as a result, the daughter, the jailer, and his whole family converted to faith in Christ. The night before the execution, he sent a letter of encouragement and farewell to the girl signing it “From your Valentine”. The next day he was brutally beaten with clubs, stoned, and finally beheaded for his support of true love and marriage.
Can you imagine the kind of love that burned within this man’s heart? Although he knew the consequences of marrying couples against the law, he knew it was right. Despite the fact that he was about to die, he showed the love of God by healing and bringing the Faith to a family he barely knew. He put aside all his fears and doubts and took a stand for love!
This is what Valentine’s Day is all about—sacrificial love. Maybe we don’t have someone special in our life in a romantic way right now or maybe we do, but the Lord and author of love is always near to us—showering us with his love and waiting patiently to be loved by us! Praise God! What a true lover! This is the love we celebrate today! Whatever your situation may be romantically, the Lord and lover of your soul longs to hear you say that you love him! Forget about what the world says this day should be about—the expensive dates, overly-sexualized relationships, and remember the love that led Jesus Christ to the Cross to die because he would rather die than live without you.
St. Valentine shows us through his martyrdom that real love is about sacrifice, and that although believing in true love is hard—especially when the world tells us to settle for things less than love—true love is worth fighting for! May we fight, as St. Valentine did so many years ago, for a life of true, authentic love. No more settling. Let’s dive head first into the love that the Lord constantly and freely gives to us, and may we in return, for all he’s done for us, love him back.
Therefore, through the lens of Christ’s sacrificial love for all of us, I wish you all a Happy Valentines Day.
You May Also Like:
God’s Love Letter Specifically for You (podcast)
About Taylor Tripodi
Taylor Tripodi is a 24 year-old cradle Catholic from Cleveland, Ohio aspiring for sainthood. Taylor graduated from Franciscan University, majoring in theology and catechetics and is now a full-time musician, traveling all over and spreading God’s unfailing love through word and song. In her spare time she enjoys making scented candles, seeking adventure, and being present to her large, crazy, Italian family. Want to hear her sing? Check out www.taylortripodi.com.