"From Your Valentine"
By Brenda Steele
Today is the day of love and the day for love. The history of Valentine’s Day remains varied, but the most widely accepted story is of a Roman priest named Valentinus.
In 270 A.D. Valentinus went against a decree by Emperor Claudius forbidding young men to marry. Claudius was convinced that young, married men made poor soldiers, and his intent was to build a mighty Roman army. Valentinus continued to perform marriages between young lovers despite Claudius’ proclamation. Eventually, this led to Valentinus’ arrest. While imprisoned, awaiting beheading, it it believed he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, and on the eve of his execution, sent her a note which he signed “from your Valentine.”
In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius I declared the first St. Valentine’s Day to be celebrated each year on February 14 in memory of the martyred priest or priests (there were at least 2 other martyred third century priests with the name of Valentinus.) Though celebrated for centuries as a symbol of sacrificial love, today it has become entirely associated with romantic love, as we all know.
Children decorate elaborate “former” shoe boxes to take to school where they exchange Valentine’s cards with their classmates. Teachers (my vocation) receive boxes upon boxes of chocolate covered cherries and single red roses or carnations. Everyone is assailed by varied shades of pink and red whenever shopping at “Wally World” or elsewhere. Sugar cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and even innocent brownies have to be festooned with pink and red frosting for the occasion.
Husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends all jam the card aisles looking for just the right card that expresses the love they feel for their “other.” Whitman’s, Hallmark, and Hershey’s glory in this day above all others! So do the restaurants, and of course, the florists.
Even with all the hype, it’s still good to set aside a day to show others, friends and loved ones, that we care enough to spend the time and effort to buy that special card, or bouquet of flowers, or even the sometimes gaudily wrapped heart-shaped box of chocolates.
I’m thinking today, sadly, of those unborn babies who will never have the opportunity to have someone hold them, tell them they are loved, and to be cherished, as is their due. They will never make their own, special Valentine’s box, eat too many pink and red Valentine’s cookies, or down a box of chocolates in no time flat.
Too many young pregnant women will not make the right choice, and will abort these precious beings, denying them all the Valentine’s Days of their lives.
Let us offer a prayer on this day of love, that those young women contemplating abortion, will have a change of heart. And will, through an act of love, allow that young life within to be born, or as an act of sacrificial love, to offer their new born child into the loving arms of adoptive parents.