I used to be THAT girl. You know THAT girl that had unrealistic expectations for Valentine’s Day. It’s really not my fault though. The blame actually belongs to my 5th grade boyfriend. There I was minding my own business during class doing my schoolwork then–to my surprise–I hear a voice behind me saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day”. He was holding a little pink teddy bear and a heart shaped box of chocolates! We did not have the same homeroom, so he must have asked the teacher to do this. He could have waited until recess, but he chose to surprise me. So, as anyone can plainly see, I was conditioned at a young age to have unrealistic expectations. And boy did I. Every year, I secretly hoped I would be surprised with a pile of roses, chocolates and/or pink balloons. Don’t worry, I am cringing right there with you.
When I was THAT girl, I looked at Valentine’s Day through very different lenses. Today, I have zero hopes, expectations, or daydreams about what February 14th may bring – that’s right — zero, nada, zilch-o. In fact, I kind of forgot today was Valentine’s Day until a friend sent me a text this morning wishing me a happy one. And because I was reminded what day it was, I started thinking about Valentine’s Days past. I also began thinking about what this day is really all about.
Today is the Feast of Saint Valentine , a clergyman who lived in Rome in the third century. Not much is known about his life, but what we do know is that he was ultimately martyred for spreading Christianity. He is the patron saint of engaged couples, love, and happy marriages (and interestingly enough beekeepers and epilepsy). He performed marriages for young Christian couples in secret and aided Christians when it was illegal to do so. He paid the ultimate price for sharing Christ’s love and living out his faith.
(I feel like Debbie Downer right now. Hey boys and girls gather round to hear about Saint Valentine, who was beheaded for loving the Lord. Wah, wah)
Saint Valentine never denounced his faith even though he must have been under enormous pressure to do so. Instead he continued to spread the truth of the Gospel. In one story, while on house arrest and discussing religion with the judge who arrested him, Valentine declared the validity of Jesus and later the judge converted to Christianity. Wow! Now is that the fruits of the spirit at work or what? Can you imagine having that much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to convert the one that may be condemning you to death? (Galatians 5:22-23)
Learning about the faith of the saints inspires me to grow in my own faith. In these hostile times, it is becoming more unpopular every day to share or speak the truth. However, we should praise God that we live in America where we are been able to live our faith. Even more than that — we should look to the example of Saint Valentine and live our faith unapologetically.
While it may be appropriate to celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine with chocolates and roses, today is also a day to do a gut check on our faith.
Wishing you a very happy Feast of Saint Valentine full of chocolate and pink teddy bear surprises!