St. Valentine and Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day. For me, the day is most memorable because every year during his lifetime, my father presented each of his daughters with a box of Russel Stover chocolates on this day. Didn’t matter if we said we were dieting or had sworn off chocolate for some other reason. Every year, the candy appeared…regardless of where we were. Receiving it mattered, it conveyed a message about my father’s love, and I still think of it (or, rather its absence) even though my father has now been dead five years. (And five years later, I still prefer not to receive chocolate from anyone else on Valentine’s Day.)

According to story, Valentine was a third century priest in Rome who assisted the martyrs during their persecution under the Emperor Claudius II. At one point he was arrested and attempts were made to get him to reounce his faith. The efforts failed, resulting in his being beaten and ultimately beheaded on February 14. Whether the story is true or not, St. Valentine came to be associated with self-sacrificing love – unconditional love.

And so this day offers us the opportunity to let those we love know how important they are to us. Various practices have come down to us to celebrate the day. Writing letters or cards to our valentines, sending chocolates or some other small gifts – it could be anything. The point is to say to someone: you matter to me. I love you. As one commentary I read suggests, “Although we should let our friends and family know how much we love them every day, St. Valentine’s Day provides a great opportunity to let them know you care.”

So do something to celebrate those you love on this day, to let them know how much they matter to you.