Just doing a quick search on the history of St. Valentine on the internet, it's actually disputed if there is only one St. Valentine...there may be two! :) At any rate, St. Valentine (one of them) was associated at the patron of love and happy marriages because he (a priest) was caught sneaking performing marriages to Christians.
But his martyrdom was based in more than that: He had the chutzpah to try to convert the Emperor of his time--and THEN was condemned to death. (I mean, he had to see it coming, right?)
So, as we are approaching this Valentine's Day, what does St. Valentine (or any saint for that matter) really hope for us still here on Earth?
The problem with Valentine's Day is not what it celebrates--love is an amazing, powerful reality that causes lives to change. Every human person craves love--to give it and receive it. But we have the tendency to truncate what love looks like (for me, ESPECIALLY on Valentine's Day) by our definition of love--a certain expectation of someone else, a measure of a particular gift or gesture. That if we don't get that one thing or one person...life is crap. Love continues to be a great Mystery--enough that poets, songwriters and playwrights have used as a muse for centuries. Love's power in our lives is too big to be reduced as we reduce it.
I remember a very wise man telling me, after I suffered a really, really hard break up, that no guy could fill my heart. "In fact, Erica, a 100 guys couldn't fill your heart."
This comment really made me want to understand my heart the way this guy did. What did he see in me that I didn't...because honestly, I was pretty sure THAT guy who just dumped me COULD fill my heart! :)
More and more each day, I see he's right. And more and more each day, I find a deeper love present in my daily reality than any one human being could have to offer that also transcends to the relationships with my family, my friends, my coworkers, etc. It was with THAT love that St. Valentine courageously asked the Emperor to convert to Christianity--because St. Valentine knew not only what his heart needed--but that Christ was the answer!
This Valentine's Day, let's ask St. Valentine to really reveal the deepest nature of our hearts, so that we can live open to what satisfies it!
So Happy Valentine's Day! Like every day, may it be an opportunity for us to accept Love and show Love to all we meet on February 14th!