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!


Tweetable: SAINT Valentine, Bishop & Martyr

10 Ways to Love Your Spouse

wedding rings(Photo Credit)

In the first installment of this series on marriage we learned what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage. Last week, we talked about what makes a good marriage. Today I want to share some ideas on how to show your husband (or wife) you love him (or her). St. Valentine’s day is certainly not the only day to show your love. 🙂 Just like ourselves, our spouses want to feel appreciated and loved all year round.

Here are some simple, free and yet wonderful ways you can let your spouse know you still care:

1. Blog about him. When we had our 8th wedding anniversary last year, I wrote a blog post about the things I loved about my husband. He loved it!

2. Love notes. Over the last few weeks I have been writing a little note in dollar store “thinking of you” cards. Michael doesn’t say much about them, but he has been calling me more often while driving for work just to tell me he loves me. 🙂

3. Write a poem or song. Corny or not, this is a sweet way to say I love you. If you don’t have the talent you can buy or print some lovely poems.

4. Create a musical playlist. Or buy a copy of your spouses favorite music or CDs. My husband is a truck driver and he listens to music, talk shows and CDs while on the road. For Christmas, I gave him the CD set of recordings from the priest who gave our Advent parish mission. It was a hit. He was able to nourish his soul and pass the driving time in an enjoyable way and be reminded that I was thinking of him.

5. Go digital. Send your spouse an encouraging text or message on Twitter or Facebook or other favorite social networking site – even Pinterest.

6. Find out his preferred love language. My husband and I read and discussed The 5 Love Languages a long time ago. It made a huge difference for both of us. It was so helpful to understand what each other needs in order to feel loved and appreciated.

7. Anticipate his needs. We are all busy. Many of the moms reading this blog home school and/or work from home. Other moms work outside the home. We all have too much on our plates. But our husbands have a lot on their plates, too, even if it’s in a different way. Lately I’ve been trying to anticipate his needs and wants and do those tasks before he has to ask. Sometimes he notices, sometimes he doesn’t. Still, it’s a nice way to show we care.

8. Build him up in front of others. It can be easy to criticize or “bash” our husbands when we are with our girlfriends, family or others. All couples have issues at times and it can seem cathartic to be able to let all our problems out. It’s better for your marriage though, to talk out your issues with your spouse and/or find someone you trust (like a priest or confidant) that you can talk to. Then make it a point to only say good things about your spouse when you are out with others. And make sure your spouse “accidentally” hear these good things once in a while!

9. Compliment him. Remind him often of the things you admire about him. Be sincere, though, otherwise your compliment will sound contrived and unauthentic. Along the same lines, don’t forget to say “thank you” for all the things he does for you.

10. Give him a massage. Who doesn’t like to get a massage? And if your spouse spends a lot of time on his or her feet, there is nothing better than a foot massage after a long day. Or a back massage. Or any other kind of massage!

What are your favorite ways to show your spouse you love him (or her)? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.

Next week, in our final (for now) installment of this series on marriage, I am going to hit on a hot topic: submission in marriage.

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)