WHAT VALENTINE CELEBRATION IS ALL ABOUT
2. Right Context
3. God is the center – criteria for Valentine celebration
4. Wrong Context
Officially recognized by the Catholic Church, Saint Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a Catholic priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed.
Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of Saint Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on it’s list of officially recognized saints. While the Catholic Church remains convinced there was a third-century martyr named Valentine, lack of specific information and the possibility that there may have been more than one Saint Valentine led to the removal of the liturgical feast from the church’s general calendar.
But the feast still appear on the calendar of some local churches.
In the third century, the Roman Empire was ruled by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus. In fact, he was getting into so many wars during the third century that he was having a difficult time recruiting enough soldiers.
Claudius believed that recruitment of personnel for the army was suffering because Roman men did not want to leave their loved ones or families behind, so he canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Thousands of couples saw their hope of matrimony dashed by the single act of a tyrant. And no one seemed interested in standing up to the emperor.
But Valentine did come forward and stood up for love. He began to secretly marry soldiers before they went to war, despite the emperor’s orders. In 269 A.D., Emperor Claudius found out about the secret ceremonies. He had Valentine put to prison and later killed.
2. Right Context
Going by the story above, firstly, the priest stood for the Law of God, (Gn 1:27, 28) as against the decree from the civil authorities. We learn here that we should not be unconcerned wherever there is a manifestation of opposition against the word of God. Every opposition against the word of God must be refused. (2 Cor. 10:5)
Going back to the topic about Saint Valentine’s day celebration; let us look at the context of the Saint Valentine’s actions;
1. Obedience to God no matter what the situation is.
2. Assisting the people to live holy lives.
3. God must be in the center of every love relationship
God is love (1 John 4:8). Everyone who loves, lives in God. Now, if love does not lead to God, it cannot be said to be love. The love that we practice, should lead us to heaven. Both the giver and the receiver, the one who is loving and the one who is receiving love.
This should be the yardstick for measuring genuine love.
If love leads to separation from God or leads to disobedient to God, then that cannot be said to be love.
3. God is the center – criteria to Valentine celebration
The Saint Valentine’s kind of love is centered on establishing the people to live in God, making obedience to God the center of their love relationship. This he did with his life and paid the ultimate price.
Genuine love therefore does not thrive on what a man or woman receives in exchange, but must be practiced in the spirit of sacrifice. Only then, can it last. Because it is never based on the recipient, but focuses on God and in obedience to God
So, the Saint Valentine’s kind of Love is God’s kind of love, the agape love.
1 Cor 13 ; 4-8
“…4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. ..”
From the scripture above, we see the true characteristics of love namely
➡ never envies
➡ never boasts
➡ not proud
➡ never dishonors others
➡ not self seeking
➡ not easily angered
➡ keep no record of wrongs
➡ never delight in evil
➡ rejoices in truth
➡ never fails
Let us examine our lives, in this valentine celebrations and always. Are we lacking in any of the above?
Ultimately, the practice of love must lead to God and Must not separate us from God.
Keep no silent in evil, let love drive you to reach out to anyone and everyone God has placed within your reach. Wherever evil thrives, let love drive you to bring about obedience to God.
4. Wrong Context
The worldly celebration of Saint valentine’s life and actions is nothing close to his life. Men/women, children are caught in the web of the devil in the name of saint valentine celebration. All manners of immoral practices which degrades human life and does not in any way lead to obedience to God. This actually leads to further corruption of the soul, opening doors and channels for the devil into many lives and families.
Consider the kind of music and dance during these celebrations. Do they lead to obedience to God. Never! It’s all erotic. This replace the genuine love with counterfeit and many have fallen for it. The crowd are following the trend. The devil’s net keeps widening with every Valentine celebration world over. Are you in his net already?
The devil’s agenda is simple; to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10). How does he fulfill this mission? By creating counterfeit of the truth.
Don’t get caught in his net this season. Check if your action this season centers on, and leads to God. Otherwise, you are in already.
2 Cor 6;
“17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 And,“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
The kind of love Saint Valentine fought for, was to keep the love among young couples pure and holy. This was why he chose to put his life down the line. The center is God.
Let us therefore examine what we practice today in the name of Saint Valentine celebration. Am I obeying God? Does this lead to peace with my maker?
To obey is life. To disobey is eternal punishment.
Happy Saint Valentine’s Day.
God bless you.
Bro A. Ogochukwu Ughonu
Be My Valentine
Be my Valentine