Here we are at Valentine’s Day again, and before you scoff at it as just a day invented to sell greeting cards and chocolate, remember that the history of the day is founded in the legend of someone who was willing to fight, and die, for love.
Between the second and eighth century, Valentine was a popular name, as the Latin word Valentinus means worthy, strong and powerful. Therefore, there is some debate about who the real Saint Valentine, really was. One of the most popular accounts is of a Roman priest in the time of Emperor Claudius. During the time Valentine was a priest, marriage between young people was forbidden. The Emperor believed unmarried men were better soldiers as they were unaffected by the thought of dying as they had no wife or children waiting for them at home. It was Valentine who married young couples in secret, until he was discovered and imprisoned then tortured, before being sentenced to death.
During his incarceration, Valentine met a man named Asterius, whose daughter was blind. Valentine prayed with Asterius’ daughter, and her blindness was cured. The last note Valentine wrote before his death sentence was carried out was to Asterius’ daughter, and it was signed ‘from your Valentine’. Valentine was then executed on 14 February, late in the third century.
Valentine is now the patron saint of lovers, and it is in his name that we take a much-needed pause to appreciate the love of our life, and all those we love in our lives. While we are reflecting on the people we love, Valentine’s Day also marks the beginning of Lent this year, a time to reflect on our lives as a whole and make a change to something we could improve about ourselves, even if only for 40 days.
What are you giving up for Lent this year? Is it chocolate? Caffeine? Or dare I suggest…alcohol?? If you are making the ‘ultimate’ sacrifice, order up now so you have something to look forward to on Easter Sunday. Or perhaps with its fortuitous timing, you’ll use Lent as an opportunity to reflect on something about yourself, or something about your relationship that you want to change for a better year ahead. Think of it as a second chance at those New Year’s resolutions!
Happy Valentine’s Day. Love,
Vanessa De Lisio