“There is a Spiritual side to Valentine’s Day and I am looking to claim it back.”
Those are the words of Joe Arena, who started “Valentine’s Day – The Spiritual Challenge” on Facebook.
The Facebook group’s challenge: “What if we made it a day where we reached out to at least one person and gave them a REAL Valentine and shared God’s Love with them?”
“We all know the current practice of Valentine’s Day. The giving of cards, flowers, gifts, candy, etc., to a loved one,” writes Arena, of North Jersey. “This Group is NOT for those of you looking to hand out heart shaped boxes of candy or Vermont Teddy Bears dressed like Cupid. Not that any of that is bad (yes, I ordered flowers for my wife – I’m not stupid).”
The Facebook page includes some historical background on Valentine’s Day:
Early Christian history tells of a Martyr named Valentine. He died because of his love for God and the desire to spread the Good News.
What if we took back this day and made it a day where we reached out to at least one person and give them a REAL Valentine and share God’s Love with them?
According to Early Medieval History, St. Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer. The idea of giving a Valentine was a note he left for the Jailer’s daughter telling her about Jesus and the price he paid for her salvation – The REAL first Valentine.
Other stories say that Valentine was a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail. The Legend goes that on the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first “valentine” himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as the jailer’s daughter whom he had befriended and healed. It was a note that read “From your Valentine.”
Are you up to it? Are you willing to send a REAL Valentine to someone?