I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not planning on writing another one of those posts about Valentine’s Day and true love and being content as a single person. That would just be cliche upon cliche. Plenty of those kinds of inspirational articles exist already.
Not that it’s not a good topic to think about–I mean, it is important to be content as a single person even on Valentine’s Day when you’re dreaming about your true love and everything.
— Which is exactly what I’m planning on doing. Not the dreaming about my true love part . . . I meant the “being content as a single person on Valentine’s Day” part.
Honestly, my plan for tomorrow is to just be confident in my single status, eat lots of chocolate, go to a Valentine’s party, and have fun and just enjoy it like any other holiday.
I mean, not to offend anyone, but I don’t even get why singles make such a big fuss about not having a boyfriend or girlfriend for Valentine’s Day anyway. As if the fact that the world is celebrating love on one particular day makes it that much worse that we don’t have a special someone. I get that it definitely does make you think about your nonexistent love life more than normal, I really do get that–but if being with your true love for Valentine’s is that important to you and makes you so upset that you become an anti-Valentine’s Day, puppy-hating, ice-cream-mouth-stuffing, bitter cynic about it, then I’m not sure you really get the idea of what true love is.
True love is not all about Valentine’s Day. It’s not about chocolate, red roses, and a candlelight dinner or an evening snuggling with your significant other on the couch while you watch sappy romantic comedies.
Read my Valentine’s Day 2016 blog post to find out more about my perspective on what true love is.
But now I’m kind of getting on an off-topic rant, which is not what I’d set out to do. So back to the point at hand.
Valentine’s Day is really about . . . what?
Before you start getting all worked up about how Valentine’s Day is a horrible, cruel thing to do to poor single people, I think it’s a good idea to do a little researching on what the holiday is really all about.
But wait, don’t we already know what it’s about?
True, St. Valentine is known as the patron saint of lovers, which we all probably know already, but there is much more behind the legend than is typically common knowledge.
I don’t have the time to really go in depth, so I’m going to quote some of that history told by Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland in a CBN article:
“[St. Valentine] was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. “He [Claudias] also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.
“. . . It was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara. “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.
“The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.”
Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. . . .
“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”
I didn’t know that St. Valentine was executed for standing up for his beliefs. The idea behind his life was much more than a frivolous desire to bring two people together who loved each other. His life was about doing what he believed was right even in the face of death.
Father O’Gara goes on to say that “there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that —even to the point of death.
“If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time where you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less ‘gushing’ but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?”
Wow. I don’t know about you, but that picture of St. Valentine is painted with a much deeper and more defined brush than anything else I’ve heard about him from our modern culture.
St. Valentine was all about standing strong in the midst of a society that bent to the will of the majority, whether it was the government, the church, pop culture, or social circles. He was all about creating relationships built to last through the weathering of time, troubles, and trials. He was all about promoting strong Christian marriages in a time when it was unaccepted and even illegal.
Hmm. Sounds strangely similar to a culture roughly 2000 years in his future.
The world never really changes. People never truly change. They’re always going to follow the same basic cultural, political, and spiritual trends that have been going on for all of history.
So our challenge is: Are we going to realize what is happening in our world and stand against the rushing tide, just like St. Valentine did?
I’m really fascinated by his story, the true history of his life. I still think it’s great to celebrate the love that God has given between a man and a woman, but I don’t want to get all obsessed with the triteness and craziness of this holiday, this one day in the year, that is so commercialized and so magnified to be the crowning glory of love.
It’s not. Love should be promoted and acted out all year round. Love should be so much a part of us that it emanates from us constantly.
And it’s sad that this great day of love touted by our society has lost so much of the depth and meaning behind it. I think St. Valentine would be disappointed to see what his life has come to represent in the minds of people today.
This one article that I quoted from does not have the whole story, and I’d encourage you to research more about the history and legends of St. Valentine on your own.
I really hope that every one of you reading this has a very special day today with loved ones. I’m not against Valentine’s Day one single bit. It’s a great time to have an extra excuse to show your special person just how much you love them, and for us singles, to eat all the chocolate we want. I just want us all to realize that there is much more to the idea of love than what our culture tells us.
Let’s be informed, stand strong for our beliefs, and love one another with a true love every day of the year.
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