While I don't have a significant other to celebrate this holiday with, it is still a very special day to me. Thirty-five years ago, at approximately 6:00 AM, I gave my heart to Jesus. Today is my born-again birthday. How fitting is that, to be born again on Valentine's Day. After all, God's love is the greatest love of all.
But where did this holiday come from? I realized I didn't have a clue. Who was St. Valentine? I did a quick search of the Internet. Here is a portion of what I found on catholic.org:
The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner — until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor — whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.
St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.
No matter what else this day brings for you, I hope you will experience the overwhelming, wonderful, greatest love of all that can be found only in Jesus the Messiah. And feel free to celebrate my born again birthday with me. 😉