Chocolate and flowers, perhaps even some sparkle, will be the currency of love as we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, a festival of romantic love. If we go to the source, we learn that the original meaning of Valentine’s Day was deeper and more inclusive.
The story of St. Valentine is one of faith and healing, love and loss. (There were actually two St. Valentines in the early Church, a priest and bishop, but the stories have become merged into one.) St. Valentine was arrested for his faith during the third century persecution of Christians. His jailer implored him to heal his blind daughter which St. Valentine did. He developed a close relationship with the girl but it couldn’t save him from his death sentence. Before he was executed, the cleric penned a letter to the girl and signed, “from your Valentine.”
The Saint’s healing power exceeded the physical ailment and reached into the girl’s heart. Many of us have experienced this healing touch that embraces our entire being, body, soul, and spirit. The power of loving touch goes well beyond our physical pain and soothes our soul.
This is the power of loving human connection. We are all capable of reaching out, extending ourselves in loving touch, to another. During this time of “social distancing” it may not be a physical touch, but it is more important than ever to reach out to others who are isolated or suffering with the power of our loving embrace.
So send the flowers and chocolates to your sweetheart, and then share the love with someone else, someone least expecting to hear from you and perhaps most needing to. Maybe a long-lost friend or alienated family member. Maybe a lonely neighbor or a recent widow. Share the love. A call or text. Some baked goods or hot soup. A Valentine, a card filled with hearts, sharing the love.
May we be sweet Valentines to one another.