Post on 12 February 2016
With Australians preparing to spend close to $800 million on chocolates, flowers and other romantic treats this weekend, Catholic Mission is reminding us that the meaning of Valentine’s Day on Sunday 14 February goes beyond the heart-shaped boxes.
The worldwide celebration of romance is said to account for about 10% of a florist’s entire annual sales, but as we prepare to trawl through dozens of Valentine’s Day cards to find the perfect one, the beautiful story of the very first ‘Valentine’s card’ should not be forgotten.
Catholic Mission’s National Director, Fr Brian Lucas, said St Valentine was a remarkably courageous priest who quite literally stuck his neck out for the sacred institution of marriage. “You have to go back to the time of the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who thought marriage would be so detrimental to his young soldiers that he prohibited it,” he said.
The 3rd Century AD was a tumultuous time for the Roman Empire, and the total ban on marriage left young people frustrated and looking for a way to express their love. Enter St Valentine.
“St Valentine secretly married these young couples within the Christian Church,” Fr Brian said. “Needless to say, when Claudius found out about this, he wasn’t too impressed.”
Sentenced to beating, torture and beheading for his brave stance on marriage, St Valentine’s actions while imprisoned remain the stuff of legend. “According to popular theory,” Fr Brian said, “one of the men to judge St Valentine was named Asterius who had a daughter who was blind. When Valentine prayed with her and she was healed, Asterius was so amazed that he became a Christian.
St Valentine’s last words were said to be scrawled in a letter to Asterius’ daughter; a line that will bear resemblance to millions of others in cards around the world this Sunday: From your Valentine.
This Valentine’s Day, Catholic Mission is asking all Australians to be mindful of the courage and selflessness of St Valentine’s actions, and his commitment to the true meaning of love.
Source: Catholic Mission.