By Gail Armatys
Valentine’s Day is Saturday. If you’ve forgotten (yikes!) then perhaps you should stop reading immediately and think seriously about your someone special and how you are going to show your unending love for him. If there is no ‘someone special’ then consider that this applies to the someones special (friends and relatives) that make a difference in your life as well.
If you’ve remembered Valentine’s Day but regard it as just another day and that your sweetheart already knows you love him…you’d probably be correct. If that thought ends with, “so I don’t really need to do anything special”, you’re probably right again. But..your need is not the focus here. Your love is. And what your Valentine desires is that you show love.
Let’s see what one worthy Saint can teach us about showing love to our Valentine.
Saint Valentine was a Roman Priest during the rule of emperor Claudias. Claudias persecuted the church and prohibited young people to marry because he believed soldiers who were unmarried were better warriors, as they would not be concerned about a wife and family left behind.
At the same time, the church held marriage as sacred and encouraged it. As you might imagine, this presented a bit of a problem in light of Claudias’ edict. Still, Valentine secretly married young couples – which ultimately led to his imprisonment and torture.
One of the stories that came from Valentine’s days in prison includes Asterius, a man who was to judge him according to Roman law. As the story goes, Asterius had a young daughter who was blind. While in prison, it is said that Valentine prayed with the young girl and she was healed.
Later, Valentine was sentenced to beating, stoning, and finally beheading on February 14, in the year 270, because of his stand for marriage and his attempt to convert the Emperor to Christianity. Legend has it that Valentine’s last words, “from your Valentine”, were written in a note to the daughter of Asterius…words that inspired our Valentine’s Day.
In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius, marked February 14 as a day to celebrate and honor Saint Valentine’s martyrdom.
There are many take-a-ways from this story such as Valentine’s unwavering faith, his decision to persevere no matter what, and his courage – though surely he felt fear. But mostly, for me, it was his decision to show sacrificial love for another even as he looked into the face of death.
Although not very cheery, this story is inspiring and provides insight into the original meaning behind Valentine’s Day. And, it clearly reveals what we know instinctively but often forget…love calls for sacrifice.
Which reminds me of another story.
Jesus Loves Me
There is a simple song that you may have learned as a child in vacation bible school or Sunday school or from your Aunt Laura that tells the story of Jesus’ love. It probably brings a sweet smile to your face when you hear the chorus:
‘Yes, Jesus love me. Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me. The bible tells me so.’
(Did you just sing a bit of it to yourself in your head? … Me, too!)
This song perfectly relates the fact that no matter what you and I have done, where we’ve been, or how we hurt others or ourselves, Jesus is for us. Jesus loves us. The bible tells us so.
What that song does not say and the bible does – is that Jesus loves you so much that he was willing to sacrifice everything for you. No matter what – you can’t undo that or make it go away. It’s history. Not legend. You can ignore it from time-to-time or altogether. But it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus gave everything. He gave his life for you. For me. For everyone.
Jesus makes it clear. Love not only calls for sacrifice…
Show Your Love
I started this blog by saying Valentine’s Day was meant to be about showing love. Saint Valentine followed Christ’s example and showed his love by praying for the young girl and giving his life for his faith and convictions. Both holy Jesus and human Valentine made the utmost sacrifice. They took action. Action on behalf of others. Action that cost them their lives.
Considering this and recognizing that God does not call all of us to sacrifice our very breath – but he does call each of us to sacrifice our preferences, time, gifts, money, fears, and pride – I wonder what purpose God could possibly have for allowing Valentine’s Day in our lives?
And, if love really is sacrifice, what are you willing to give?
Finally, how will you show your love for your someone(s) special today…on Valentine’s Day…every day?
Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice. Thank you for your example and the courage and selflessness we find in the story of Saint Valentine. I pray to honor you by willingly sacrificing all that I am and have to show love to those around me. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.
- Think of at least one way you can use your gifts, talents, time, and blessings to show love to someone today.
- Does fear, sense of loss, anxiety, or something else keep you from sacrificing?
- Notice and journal how you feel when you sacrifice for another.
- Have a love-filled Valentine’s Day (and beyond)!
Listen to your HeartSong here!
Jesus Loves Me/Chris Tomlin
Live the song written on your heart
HeartSong Life Coach, LLC