St. Valentine, the Bishop of Terni
Happy Valentine's Day! Like some of y’all, the last few days in the Coelho household were spent organizing chocolate and gifts for classmates and teachers. The teachers among us probably spend today receiving and facilitating the exchange of such gifts!
More than the celebration of romantic love, the Feast of St. Valentine in church history commemorates the death of Valentine, the Bishop of Terni. Tradition holds that Valentine spent his life convincing people of the Lordship of Jesus, helping persecuted Christians in Rome, healing people in the name of Jesus, and marrying Christian couples (hence the emphasis on courtly love). In this way Valentine’s example and the celebration of this day is for us all as the church.
Rather than the exclusive purview of couples, and a day of loneliness for others, the celebration of St. Valentine might be an occasion for us all to consider our own witness to Christ, and participation in his love for the whole of creation. One story of Valentine’s life involves praying for the healing of a young blind women. After she was miraculously healed, legend has it, Valentine wrote her a note signed “your Valentine.” How powerfully transformative it would be for all manner of such Valentines to be sent out in the name of Christ to our broken, hurting, and in-need-of-sight world. To whom can you send such a valentine in the name of Christ?
With you in the love of God,