In a world filled with meaningless relationships, do we need another day of all fluff and no stuff? Often, people mindlessly celebrate Valentine’s day with no real connection to the dynamic legend of Saint Valentine. If it’s true that "what the world needs now is love sweet love," why not put the same power back into our most popular day of love?
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for us to broaden our understanding of love and its power. We have missed the deeper meaning of Valentine’s Day by singling out romantic love as the focus of this holiday’s ultimate meaning.
Love is multifaceted. It is more than emotion. Love is a force that can motivate, create, heal, and transform the lives of anyone it touches. Under the pressure of commercialism, most of us have forgotten that this holiday was created to recognize a saint.
Over time, Valentine’s Day has become blended with two other ancient Roman holidays, Lupercalis and Juno, both associated with romance; however, Saint Valentine’s life exemplifies a broader definition of love. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes 8 different saints named Valentine but the most famous one lived in Rome during the reign of Claudius II, around the year 270 AD.
Legend has it that Claudius II outlawed marriage as a way to encourage men to join his army. Valentine refused to obey this law and was arrested for secretly performing weddings for young couples. While in prison, Valentine’s kindness and positive attitude helped convert the jailer and his wife to Christianity.
According to the legend, Valentine also befriended the jailer’s blind daughter, often writing her notes of encouragement and praying for her. Word of Valentine’s kindness and compassion reached Claudius II. He offered to release Valentine if the priest would renounce his religion and worship the Roman gods. Valentine not only refused, but he tried to convert Claudius II to Christianity. Claudius II rejected this attempt and condemned Valentine to death.
As the legend goes, Valentine’s prayers were answered, and the jailer’s daughter was healed. On the eve of his execution, Valentine wrote a note assuring this young girl that she was not responsible for his death. He signed the note "from your Valentine."
As you can see, Valentine’s story represents many aspects of love. It was his love for God and his commitment to his values that caused Valentine to disobey the law. Valentine’s respect for romantic love is also included in his disobedience. His positive and loving attitude, even in the midst of crisis, affected the views of others including the jailer and Claudius himself. He demonstrated love for humanity through his kindness to the jailer’s blind daughter.
The following are ways to broaden your celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day: being your own valentine; sharing meaningful and heartfelt appreciation to all the important people in your life, not just your lover; practicing random acts of kindness to strangers; and recommitting to your own spiritual values.
However, the most important way to put the power back into this day of love is to learn to use the force of love to transform your life. Love can be consciously directed to bring peace and harmony into your world.
In your mind’s eye, envision your world filled with love and light. See people responding to you with kindness and respect as you do the same with them. Join this image with the feelings of joy as you release the force of love into your life.
This process may seem simplistic to you, but I can assure you that love works. I have taught this technique to people for over twenty years. The reports have been fantastic. People have healed relationships that have been damaged for years. Parents have seen dramatic improvements in the behavior of their children. Workers have witnessed profound changes in conflicts on the job. The only way you will know if it works is to try it. Do the exercise for two weeks and see if your life is not improved.
You might want to pick a particular person or situation with which to experiment. You will not be disappointed!
Make a commitment to forget the fluff and get down to the real stuff.
Celebrate the power of love on Saint Valentine’s Day. You will be glad you did.
Marty Varnadoe Dow, LCSW, is the author of Let Love Transform Your Life. She and Gabriella, the Angel Puppet, travel around the country sharing the power of love.
For more information about the power of love or the angel Gabriella, contact Marty at Marty@martydow.com.
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