St. Valentine’s Day

Love

“Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

St. Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages.  His feast day – yes, you guessed it – is February 14th.  The world commemorates the exhilaration of love with flowers, candy, romantic dinners and festive parties. A quick Google search confirmed that we spend literally billions of dollars, worldwide, on Valentine’s Day.  I wonder what St. Valentine would say?

St. Valentine lived in Rome under the rule of Claudius II, an emperor known for persecuting the early Christian church.  The story goes that Claudius II banned marriages because he believed he could recruit more young men into the military if they did not have a family life awaiting them at home.  St. Valentine, a holy priest, disregarded the order and took on the role of the protector of lovers.  The inevitable happened. He was caught in the act of marrying a young Christian couple. He was apprehended, tortured and beheaded on February 14th, 270, for refusing to renounce his faith.

This week, as we look forward to the celebration Valentine’s Day, I want to explore how love and romance has kindled our imagination.  St Valentine, a courageous man who lived centuries in the past, still holds the hearts of those in love.

“Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered—and I was delivered to you—to be worn. I want you to wear me, like a watch-charm or a buttonhole bouquet.”

Zelda Sayre to F. Scott Fitzgerald

26 thoughts on “St. Valentine’s Day

  1. My husband and I don’t really celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. We didn’t make a decision about it, but we just kind of shrug when it rolls around every year. It’s become way too commercialized. Going out to eat is a nightmare – it’s the busiest night of the year and service is usually bad. We usually have a drink and say Happy Valentine’s Day and then that’s it. I suppose it’s boring. I didn’t know the real story of St. Valentine. What a hero!

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    • I confess, I had never thought to look up the story! I am learning over and over again, that the story is every present, ready to be heard by willing hearts. I have been married 35 years. For me, Valentine’s Day is a lifelong celebration that is comprised of little details like helping with the laundry, baking bread, and making plans together. My favourite Valentine’s Day quote is by George Eliot: “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”

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      • Wow, 35 years! good for you. I think that in today’s throwaway culture, people always seem to be looking for something new and shiny, including life partners. I’ve been with Le Husband for over 14 years and I’m so proud of it, because I never thought that I was the marrying kind.😉

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      • Ah, those that think they are not the “marrying” kind are usually amazed to find that it is an agreeable institution. I had no intention of getting married – I am still surprised, even after all these years, that I am!

        “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
        Lao Tzu

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    • Your comments sent me back to do more research. It seems that the modern Valentine’s Day has more do to with card production than it does with the original saint. According to Wikipedia, 1797 marked the start of cards and sentimental verses. This week, millions of electronic cards will be sent out over the cables and WiFi.

      Even William Shakespeare knew that St. Valentine’s Day was special.

      To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
      All in the morning betime,
      And I a maid at your window,
      To be your Valentine.
      Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
      And dupp’d the chamber-door;
      Let in the maid, that out a maid
      Never departed more.
      —William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

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  2. We just can’t help loving someone and also loving many people or things but in different ways. I sometimes feel uncomfortable saying to someone – I love you – because I do not mean in a sensual way. I envy the word agape as it can mean strong affection in a devoted way.

    And we must remember there are some who are still struggling for the right to love and marry whomever they choose.

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    • Ah, agape! What a wonderful word.

      “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
      Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
      Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
      Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
      Love never fails.”

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  3. Poor Zelda and F.Scott, what a miserable relationship they had. Read a couple bios. Zelda had substantial struggles.
    I know nothing of the history of Valentine and found it fascinating. Thanks for the informative post as always.

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    • My pleasure – I did not know the background on St. Valentine’s Day either. I agree – poor Zelda and F. Scott. It seems that love comes in different forms than the ideal “I’m a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

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