Truly, loving and being loved is one of the most wonderful gifts God has given us.
I’m a fan of anything that elevates and celebrates Love. And so I’m a fan of Valentine’s Day. The message of the story of St. Valentine is beautiful.
“The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. [Additional evidence that Valentine was a real person: archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.] Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner — until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor — whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn’t do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].” www.Catholic.org
Valentinus loved Love. He married Christian couples when it was against the law. He believed in the goodness of marriage.
“Give honor to marriage” (Hebrews 13:4a NLT)
Today I’m considering ways to honor marriage. My marriage and the marriages in my community.
Marriage is transforming. Marriage often calls us to deep and unimaginable levels of sacrifice, selflessness and investment. Marriage is the ultimate arena for testing our ability to love, respect, forgive, serve, help. Marriage spotlights the destructive fruits of “needing to be right”, “needing to be powerful”, “needing to be in control.” Marriage rubs healing salts into old festering wounds. Marriage is a precious crucible.
Marriage is wonderful. Marriage covenant establishes a sanctuary for full vulnerability, full honesty and full transparency. Marriage frees us to be exactly who we are whilst also giving the freedom to become who we could be. Marriage is a fortifying alliance. Marriage is a glorious harbor from the stormy ocean around us. Marriage showcases the beauty of being interdependent and intertwined. Marriage is a powerful example of Yahweh’s Love.
In honor of Valentinus, let’s celebrate the goodness of marriage! Thank God for Love! And thank God for His Holy Spirit who give us the strength and vision to endure and enjoy marriage!
Take time to honor and celebrate the marriages in your life. Thank married couples you admire. Encourage them! Tell them that their covenant impacts your life. Thank them for chosing daily to live out the commands of God’s Love. Give encouragement and honor to marriages. Every married couple could do with a dose of inspiring encouragement!
Happy, happy Valentine’s Day! How wonderful Love is.
(A note about singleness: There are all kinds of wonderful relationships in life. You do not have to be married to experience incredible depths of Love. The apostle Paul is very clear that being single is good and blessed. (See 1 Cor 7). But, it’s also clear that God created marriage as a special relationship. And it’s good to celebrate and honor marriage! Let’s not become afraid of offending single people to the point that we become afraid to honor marriage.)