Tuesday, February 12, 2013

St. Valentine's Day : The Martyr not the Roses

St. Valentine's Day is in only two days, so time is short. As I said in an earlier post on loving on your husband I am no huge fan of the ridiculous craze that Hallmark has made of this feast day. Barely anyone seems to know much about St. Valentine or even what a feast day is. I believe this is one of the days we as Christians need to reclaim and teach our children the history and truth that can be found in the day.

Instead they associate this day with fat naked cherub babies attempting to shoot those one is attracted to with a love arrow. Or maybe it's about decorating your house with all forms of red, pink, lace, and hearts and giving capitalism a great hoo-rah. Those who are in relationships seem to expect some new expensive piece of jewelry or at least overpriced roses. Those who are single bemoan their relationship status and celebrate Singles Awareness Day, whatever on earth that means...

Somehow out of this Saint, whom not much is known about, our society has managed to make a holiday based on consumerism culminating in pink decor. Instead of avoiding the holiday altogether (which I am sometimes tempted to do, I admit), we will be focussing instead on what little we can find out about the real St. Valentine (or possible two or three of them!) and talk about love in the sense that God loves us and our commandments to love Him and one another. I believe it is important to pass on to our children the definition of real love, of love that sacrifices and gives of oneself.

St. Valentine*

There were several St. Valentines throughout the ages, but the most common one I could find information about was a priest in Rome in the 3rd century. Some stories tell of him aiding Christian couples and performing secret marriages of Christians during a time with Christian persecution didn't permit this according to Roman law. Other stories tell of how he healed his jailer's daughter's eyesight. Whatever story is true, it can be said that this man of faith was willing to go beyond what was easy and simple to love others. He held fast to what he believed, stating even with his life that he believed in the Ultimate depiction of Love, his Faith in Christ. Despite the unjust Roman laws, he continued to hold fast to the Church's teachings and practice his callings as a priest including administering the Sacraments. He died a martyr's death, making even the end of his life a depiction of true love.

For our St. Valentine's Day activities, we will be: 

Making this fun paper bag puppet of the Saint from Catholic Icing. He's depicted as a Bishop here, and in some histories of St. Valentine, he is a Bishop. Other histories say there are two - one who was a priest, one a bishop. Either way, this is a perfect way to bring the red paper hearts back to being about God and the Church. 

Make simple Valentines to send to our family members. I'm going to have Dom think of one reason why he loves each person and write it on there. For some simple St. Valentine's Day crafts, check out my Pinterest board: Other Holidays.

As it'll be Lent at that point, we will forego chocolate and other such edible treats. I did buy the boys little treats to be from LegenDaddy and I, but I set my limit at $5 to keep it small. Otherwise, we're not going to make much of a hulabaloo about the day. We shall honor the Saint, talk about what true Love as given to us by our Savior and as lived out by the people of His Church looks like, and give small tokens of our love. And that is how this O family shall be celebrating St. Valentine's Day.

In closing, here are some wise words about Love from the Saints who have gone before us.

"The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces Love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life."   St. Thomas Aquinas
"Pure love... knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love - love, and always love."  St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul
"Intense love does not measure... it just gives."   Blessed Mother Teresa 
"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."   St. Augustine of Hippo 
"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."    Pope St. Gregory the Great

May these be the teachings of Love that we pass on to our children.

Linking up with Little Holy Days - click on the link to learn more about the Link-up and to share your own posts about Lent, feast days, and other special times during this Season.

*Found this image at Wholly Roamin Catholic, but I couldn't find the original source. If you know, please tell me. Thanks!

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This post St. Valentine's Day : The Martyr not the Roses first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 12 February 2013

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