Wednesday, February 14, 2007Valentine's Day and questions
Happy Valentines Day! Many peoeple don't celebrate this holiday, as, like many feast days, it has been taken over by the secular world. But Valentine was a saint. The stories of St. Valentine, such as the one of him marrying two lovers in secret, are very romantic.
Also, corny as the shape of a heart has become, it is indeed a very physical and Catholic shape. It is the physical shape of the very organ that beats to keep us alive; it's the symbol of the emotional aspect we all posess: that which gives us sentiment, compassion... it is used to represent the hearts of Jesus and Mary... the list goes on. Just as we see cartoon depictions of Santa Claus in the secular world and must interpret these as depictions of St. Nick, so must we do with the shape of the heart filling the public windows of the post offices and grocery stores all over the place.
On a side note, celebrating Valentine's day can be a delight in itself in color and decorations! What a fun time, in the middle of winter, to bring out those cheery doilies and summer-y plates and teacups... to make heart-shaped pancakes... to spread out the pink or red tablecloth. Symbols of St. Valentine include birds and roses.
In the New Calendar, this is the feast of the Memorial of Sts. Cyril, monk and St. Methodius, bishop . However, St. Valentine's feast is in the old Calendar which is where we get the name "Valentine's Day".
While in prison, Valentine was tended by the jailer, Asterius, and his blind daughter. Asterius' daughter was very kind to Valentine and brought him food and messages. They developed a friendship and toward the end of his imprisonment Valentine was able to convert both father and daughter to Christianity. Legend has it that he also miraculously restored the sight of the jailer's daughter.The night before his execution, the priest wrote a farewell message to the girl and signed it affectionately "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lives on even to today.
The valentine has become the universal symbol of friendship and affection shared each anniversary of the priest's execution -- St. Valentine's Day. Valentine has also become the patron of engaged couples.
~(above taken from catholic culture.org)
Go to CatholicCulture's site to read more about this saint.
I could go on with ideas of how to celebrate Valentine's day but I'd like to hear from our readers in the question of the Week responses first...
~Sia, Vancouver, WA