February 2019 Letter

The Real St. Valentine

 

Only two saints—St. Valentine and St. Patrick—have their feast days listed on ordinary calendars. Ironically, we know almost nothing about the real St. Valentine except that he was a physician and Roman priest who was martyred for his Christian faith. Valentine lived in Rome during the rule of Emperor Claudius II, more commonly known as Claudius Gothicus (AD 268-270). Valentine became one of the noted martyrs of the Christian faith during the third century. The commemoration of his death, which occurred in AD 270, became part of the calendar of remembrance in the Early Church of the West.

 

Tradition suggests that on the day of his execution, Valentine left a note of encouragement for a child of his jailer written on an irregularly shaped piece of paper. This greeting became a pattern for millions of written expressions of love and caring that now are the highlight of Valentine’s Day celebrated in many nations, including the United States.

 

Love is an essential ingredient for life. Experiments have demonstrated that infants who are provided with adequate food and warmth but denied human contact and affection will literally die. Even plants and animals respond positively to love. One of the immutable laws of the universe is that the more we love, the more we will be loved. If we try to hoard our love, we will end up with nothing. The very essence of love demands that we give it away.

 

St. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, “2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Almighty and everlasting God, You kindled the flame of Your love in the heart of Your holy martyr Valentine. Grant to us, Your humble servants, a like faith and the power of love, that we who rejoice in Christ’s triumph may embody His love in our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

February Blessings!

 

Pastor David A. Feddern