Thursday, February 14, 2013

St Valentine: Protector of Marriage

I've always known that Valentine's Day had something to do with a St. Valentine, but to be honest, I never really looked into it more than that. I guess I just assumed St. Valentine somehow shared God's love and was eventually martyred for it, and didn't worry about the details. But in my search for a cute video about St. Valentine to show my preschooler, I discovered some amazing facts about St. Valentine.
While there is no historical agreement of the facts of St. Valentine's life, the story perpetuated by the local clergy in the Italian city of Terni, where Valentine served as Bishop, paints a picture of Valentine as not just a protector of love in general, but specifically of Catholic marriage despite opposition from the non-Catholic government. According to this legend, in the 3rd century, the Roman emperor banned marriage, hoping more men would enter the Roman army if unencumbered by worry for a wife and child.

Today, marriage is again under attack by a secular government and broader culture. Beyond those attempting to dismantle the definition of marriage, many people are forgoing it altogether in favor of cohabitation. The legend of St. Valentine may be made up in the Middle Ages (the historical evidence indicates that's the most likely scenario, actually), but it can still inspire us to stand for Truth.

This Valentine's Day, let's remember St. Valentine's courageous stand for marriage and pray for strength for ourselves and our clergy to stand as valiantly as he supposedly did!

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