Saint Valentine

Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, this seems like a good day to talk about the man behind the holiday. There is some confusion about just who he was. There was a man named Valentine who was martyred by Claudius II on February 14, 269 (or 270, depending on your source). One reason for the confusion is that Valentinus, the Latin form of his name means worthy, strong, or powerful, which was a popular name around that time, so there are stories about several men called the same.

One of the two most likely stories is that Valentine was a temple priest, beheaded for helping Christian couples wed. Soldiers in particular, were forbidden to wed, as it was believed that married men would be worried about their families, and so might not fight as hard, or alternatively that he married couples so the husband wouldn’t have to go to war. He was also convicted of trying to convert those of other religions to Christianity, which was frowned upon by Rome. The other story is that Valentine was Bishop of Terni, who was also martyred by Claudius.

One story about Valentine says that while imprisoned he healed the jailer’s blind daughter. On the day of his execution, he left the girl a note signed, “Your Valentine,” but we don’t really know for sure how his name became to be associated with love. It is possible that his feast day was set here in opposition to Lupercalia, the Roman festival of fertility, which was celebrated about this time of the year.

The man known officially as Saint Valentine of Rome is called on to watch over the lives of lovers, and for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting, and traveling. He’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.

Saint Valentine
Saint Valentine

Quotes about love

All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.–Charles Schulz (via Lucy Van Pelt)

Always love your enemies–nothing annoys them so much.–Oscar Wilde

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.–Thomas Merton

Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.–Harold Herbert

The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows, and crimes of humanity, all lie in that one word “love.” It is the divine vitality that produces and restores life. To each and every one of us it gives the power of working miracles, if we will.–Lydia M. Child

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.–Mother Teresa

The first duty of love is to listen.–Paul Tillich

Forgiveness is the final form of love.–Reinhold Niebuhr

From all the offspring of the earth and heaven love is the most precious.–Sappho

The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re alive.–O. A. Battista

I don’t want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally.–Zelda Fitzgerald

If we found out that we all had five minutes to live, every phone line in the world would be tied up with people calling other people to stumble about how much they love them. So don’t wait until we only have five minutes to live–do it now.–Trisha Wright

In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.–John O’Donohue

The only thing we can do about other people is to love them.–Dorothy Day

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