• P. Frank

Saint Valentine’s Love

Today is Saint Valentine’s Day. Where did this commonly celebrated holiday start? Has it always been about candy, flowers, and gifts exchanged between loved ones? Who is Saint Valentine? No one by that name is found in Scripture; however, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints that went by the name Valentine. All these saints were martyred for their faith.

One legend of Valentine claims that he was a priest serving in Rome during the third century reign of Emperor Claudius II. Claudius outlawed marriage for young men in order to make them better soldiers. Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies, defying the emperor’s decree. When the emperor found out, Valentine was put to death.

A different legend suggests that Valentine helped Christians escape Roman prisons where they were often tortured. According to one legend, Valentine was actually in prison and found himself stricken with love for his jailor’s daughter who had visited him while he was in prison. It is claimed that he sent the first “valentine” greeting to her before his death signed, “From your Valentine.”

The truth behind these legends is unclear and unknown. However, by the Middle Ages, the heroic and romantic Saint Valentine became one of the most popular saints in Catholic England and France and remnants of these legends are still celebrated today. There is certainly no harm in celebrating such a thing as love, so long as it remains about love and not lust.

By now, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘What does any of this have to do with God telling us to have no fear?’ It doesn’t. So, I will leave you with this Scripture:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18).

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!