St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr

Today, many people will be getting or giving candy and flowers and planning delicious meals (or going out to dinner) because of SAINT Valentine’s day. That’s right. Most people have taken off the “saint” part of St. Valentine’s day, and it has been hijacked as a “Hallmark holiday;” however, today is the feast of a priest who was martyred for his faith. Actually, it is believed that St. Valentine’s day commemorates several martyrs.

St Valentine

Image by David Teniers III (1600) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

We don’t know much about the St. Valentine that we celebrate today. We know that he was a priest in Rome who often gave comfort and support to those suffering persecution from Claudius II. He was arrested and sent to the emperor of Rome. Then, when he refused to renounce his faith, St. Valentine was beaten with clubs and beheaded on February 14, 270 (or thereabouts).

However, there are other speculations about Saint Valentine. According to Wikipedia, the origins of St. Valentine are not confirmed and that there may have been many saints martyred on February 14:

“Saint Valentine (in Latin, Valentinus) is the name of several (14 in all [2]) martyred saints of ancient Rome. The name “Valentine”, derived from the word valens (worthy, strong, powerful), was popular in Late Antiquity.[3] Of the Saint Valentine whose feast is on February 14, nothing is known except his name and that he was buried on the Via Flaminia north of Rome on February 14, he was born on April 16. It is even uncertain whether the feast of that day celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name. For this reason this liturgical commemoration was not kept in the Catholic calendar of saints for universal liturgical veneration as revised in 1969.[4] But “Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter and those with him at Rome” remains in the list of saints proposed for veneration by all Catholics.[5]”

Catholic Online gives us the origins of the celebration of “St. Valentine’s Day”

“Historian Jack Oruch has made the case that the traditions associated with “Valentine’s Day”, documented in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, had no such tradition before Chaucer.[18] He argues that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. In the French 14th-century manuscript illumination from a Vies des Saints (illustration above), Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni; there is no suggestion here yet that the bishop was a patron of lovers.[19]”

Interesting isn’t it?  I encourage you to read more about St. Valentine and St. Valentine’s day over at Catholic Online. You’ll notice that none of it has to do with the secular celebration of romance and candy and flowers. etc. (Not that I’m opposed to candy or flowers, or romance, of course!)

BUT, it does have everything to do with real agape love – love of neighbor and love of God, even to the point of martyrdom!

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Tweetable: SAINT Valentine, Bishop & Martyr

31 Days of Prayer – Saint Jude

Yesterday was the feast day of saints Simon and Jude. I was going to offer a prayer to Saint Jude yesterday; however, being Friday, it made more sense to do the Prayer Before A Crucifix. Thus, today we are going to pray to Saint Jude now. 🙂

 31 Days of Prayer - Saint Jude


Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Saint Jude is one of the Apostles and the patron saint of “hopeless causes.” We can go to him in our deepest needs and he will intercede on our behalf!

Here is a touching prayer to Saint Jude that I found on Catholic Online:

St. Jude, glorious Apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the Patron of things despaired of; pray for me, that finally I may receive the consolations and the succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request), and that I may bless God with the Elect throughout Eternity. Amen.”

Saint Jude, pray for us!

(And, let’s not forget Saint Simon. Saint Simon, pray for us!)

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Tweetable: 31 Days of Prayer – Saint Jude

31 Days Writing Challenge

Saint Henry, Pray for Us!

Today is the optional memorial of Saint Henry. As far as I can tell, Saint Henry isn’t a particularly well-known or popular saint. So why write about him? Because, in some ways, he is just like us.

Saint Henry, Pray for Us!

Image by Foxy_ (2012) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Granted, unlike most of us, Saint Henry was born into royalty. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995  and after the death of a cousin he was appointed the emperor of Germany. He was well educated and pious and when he married, he and his wife made a vow of chastity.

Still, Saint Henry lived out his vocation in the secular world. He was generous, had a strong sense of justice and a great love for the Church. At one point in his life, he became ill and had a crippled leg but bore his sufferings with great forbearance.

He also had his faults. In particular, he was a little too quick to jump into battle especially by today’s standards. He fought against those who went against his empire and he fought against those who caused trouble in Rome.

However, AmericanCatholic.org points out, “All in all, this saint was a man of his times. From our standpoint, he may have been too quick to do battle and too ready to use power to accomplish reforms. But, granted such limitations, he shows that holiness is possible in a busy secular life. It is in doing our job that we become saints.

This is why I am pointing him out to you. He lived a busy life, he fulfilled his duties with care, and  he still managed to live a faithful life with his eyes on Christ. He shows that we can do the same thing. No matter what is going on, we can still grow in holiness right where God has put us. We can still make time for prayer because, as Saint Henry shows us, we make time for those things that are important to us!

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Tweetable: Saint Henry, Pray for Us!

Resources: American Catholic, Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online