Love, Sacrifice, Commitment

There is a lot more to Valentine’s Day than just cards and gifts. There is a true-life story that teaches us about love, sacrifice, and commitment-the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.

In the third Century a Christian priest named Valentine came forward after the Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus canceled all marriages and engagements. He believed that men did not want to leave their families and loved ones behind for the army. Valentine began secretly marrying soldiers before they left for war, despite what the Emperor had ordered. Later the Emperor found out and had Valentine thrown into prison and committed to death. 

As he was awaiting his execution, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. The night before his execution he wrote a sonnet using ink squeezed from violets. The girl was blind and legend has it that the ink made her see again. The next day Valentine was clubbed to death. Valentine gave his life so that young couples could be bonded together in marriage. Centuries later, the story of Valentine’s self-sacrificing commitment to love was legendary. Eventually he was granted sainthood by the Catholic Church. Although the Catholic Church recognizes three different saints named Valentine, they were all martyred.

Why February 14th? It could be because it is believed this is the anniversary of Valentine’s death. It could also have been to Christianize a pagan celebration called Lupercalia that is celebrated February 13-15. This celebration was outlawed at the end of the 5th century. It is also believed in France and England that February 14this the beginning of mating season for birds.

No matter how this celebration came to be, or how you celebrate it, keep the celebration of love throughout the year. Schedule time with whomever you love; friends, children, parents, and family. Laugh together, play together, and be together.

Stephanie Dunn

Christian Education Coordinator