Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

On this Valentines Day, I would like to confess that this is the first year (of my modest 27) that I have actually known what is the historical significance behind the holiday. Thanks to this Catholic homeschooling resource, my eager 4-year-old and I read the true story of Saint Valentine. He was a Christian priest and physician who lived in Rome 200 years after the death of Christ. He treated the ill of the city's slums -- accepting whatever payment they could offer - whether it be a loaf of bread or a new pair of sandals. Valentine had to pray for his patients only in the darkness of night due to the ongoing Roman persecution of the Christians.

One day a Roman jailer brought his blind daughter to Valentine for treatment. Saint Valentine treated the young girl's eyes faithfully with salve for months and months, to no avail. Nonetheless, the girl and Valentine became friends. She would accompany Saint Valentine into the fields around Rome; while he gathered his curative herbs she would pick boquets of crocus flowers for her father.

Tragically, Saint Valentine was rounded up in a Roman purge of the Christians and thrown in jail. The jailer whom he had befriended rushed to his cell, but explained that the emperor had ordered the roundup and that there was nothing he could do. However, he did provide Valentine a piece of papyrus and pen - with which the priest was able to write "from your Valentine". The jailer took the letter home to his daughter. When he opened it to read her the note, a yellow crocus flower fell to the ground and as the father read his daughter the message contained therein she was able to see the yellow hue of the flower for the first time in her life. Valentine was executed for his faith shortly thereafter.

So, on this Valentines Day. I would like to 1) thank the other Builders for encouraging me to give home education a try and 2) suggest that we be continually inspired by the power of all love - not just romantic love- as demonstrated by the namesake of the day.


JesusThroughMary said...

Wikipedia, being the font of all knowledge, has a very informative article about Saint(s) Valentine. The more I read about him, the less I know.

It's interesting that his feast was suppressed in the "reform" of the General Roman Calendar in the wake of Vatican II.

Juris Mater said...

AWOL, thanks for sharing this. The saints are such a blessing in revealing the power of all love... I love how much I can learn just by reading my children simple stories of the lives of saints. Isn't that a wonderful aspect of motherhood, having opportunities to engage and deepen our faith simply by virtue of the fact that we're teaching it to our children often? And I'm glad there's one saint whose legacy is of romantic love : )