While You Were Giving Out V-Day Cards, This Happen…

While You Were Giving Out V-Day Cards, This Happen… February 14, 2021

Aww, Sweet Happy Valentine’s Day.

The day when lovers give each other luscious, hopefully fair-trade, scrumptious delicious chocolate,
overpriced flowers that will soon die after a week
and funny sentimental cards that will find refuge in a stack of papers somewhere.

Valentine’s Day is named after St. Valentine who was a priest and physician, who along with St. Marius and his family gave comfort to the dying martyrs under the brutal persecution of Emperor Claudius II, the not so loving Goth.

But there is also another St. Valentine who was a Bishop of a place called Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). He also suffered the wraith of Claudius II the Goth and was arrested, scourged and decapitated.

But wait. There is still another St. Valentine. This one also suffered martyrdom but this time in Africa and with several companions.

Not much is known about these 3 men except that they are three separate saints who share one single holiday remembrance.

This is also on the same day that St. Cyril and St. Methodius, patron saints of Europe and St. Manchan celebrate their feast day. But yet nobody gives their sweetheart a St. Cyril Day card.

It is also the presentation of Jesus at the Temple in the Armenian Apostolic Church.

While the agape of neighbor and our Lord is the highest form of love, the eros form of love seems to have gotten the central focus of February 14.  The first recorded association of the martyred St. Valentine’s Day with the romantic love associated with the sacrament of holy matrimony  is believed to be in the written work Parliament of Fowls (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer author of famed classic Canterbury Tales. In the story is a dream vision portraying a parliament for birds to choose their mates.  Thus Mr. Chaucer was honoring the first anniversary of the engagement of fifteen-year-old King Richard II of England to fifteen-year-old Anne of Bohemia.

Aww Young Young Love.

Well of course people didn’t live that long back then, so even thou it would be taboo now in our culture, it was appropriate at the time.

“For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day
When every bird comes there to choose his match
(Of every kind that men may think of!),
And that so huge a noise they began to make
That earth and air and tree and every lake
Was so full, that not easily was there space
For me to stand—so full was all the place.”

The Catholic Bard acknowledges that The original Bard mentioned Valentine’s Day from the lips of Ophelia in classic work Hamlet (1600–1601).

“To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupp’d the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.” — William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

Valentine’s Day was turning into a sweet ancient living hallmark card centuries before anyone thought of the idea of starting up a business with that name. But as you can see nasty things such as death, destruction and dismemberment are also associated with this day.

In fact, while you were complaining about not getting a Valentine’s Day gift from that special someone these things occurred on Valentine’s Day.

1014 – Pope Benedict VIII crowns Henry of BavariaKing of Germany and of Italy, as Holy Roman Emperor.

1076 – Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

1130 – Pope Innocent II is elected.

1349 – The Strasbourg massacre occurred when several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city as part of the Black Death persecutions.

1468 – Johannes Werner (February 14, 1468 – May 1522) a German priest and mathematician was born.

1778 – The United States flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte renders a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by American Revolutionary War navel hero John Paul Jones.

1779 – Explorer Captain James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.

1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

1852 – Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, becomes the first hospital in England to provide in-patient beds specifically for children, is founded in London. It is greatly associated with children and children’s book authors. The hospital is the largest Centre for child heart surgery in the UK and one of the largest centers for heart transplantation in the world. In 1962 they developed the first heart and lung bypass machine for children. With children’s book author Roald Dahl, they developed an improved shunt valve for children with hydrocephalus, and non-invasive (percutaneous) heart valve replacements. They did the first UK clinical trials of the rubella vaccine, and the first bone marrow transplant and gene therapy for severe combined immunodeficiency.

In 1929, J. M. Barrie donated the copyright to Peter Pan to the hospital.

1855 – Texas is linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.

1859 – Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.

1882 – John Barrymore, (February 14 or 15, 1882 – May 29, 1942) was born. He was a talented classic American actor who played Hamlet on stage and the radio but somehow not on film.

1894 – Jack Benny, (February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974) Classic American actor, comedian, film and radio star and producer was born.

1899 – Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th and the last contiguous U.S. state.

1912 – The U.S. Navy commissions its first class of diesel-powered submarines.

1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, (born February 14, 1913 – disappeared July 30, 1975, declared dead July 30, 1982) an American trade union leader was born. The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa  was the topic of an episode of Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World.

1919 – The Polish–Soviet War begins.

1920 – The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago.

1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago.

1934 – Florence Henderson, (February 14, 1934 – November 24, 2016) best known as Carol Brady on the American sitcom The Brady Bunch was born.

1961 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California.

1966 – Australian currency is decimalized.

1970 – Simon Pegg, English actor, director, producer, and big time geek was born.

1975- Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown was the 13th prime-time animated television Peanuts special and it originally aired on CBS January 28, 1975.

1975 – P. G. Wodehouse (October 15, 1881 –February 14, 1975) English novelist and playwright died.

1989 – James Bond (January 4, 1900 – February 14, 1989) An American ornithologist and zoologist, (not the fictional spy) died.

1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth that later becomes famous as Pale Blue Dot.

2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.

2008 – Northern Illinois University shooting: A gunman opens fire in a lecture hall of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb County, Illinois, resulting in six fatalities (including the gunman) and 21 injuries.

2018 – A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.

And those are the good and bad events that happen on Valentine’s Day.

While it seems that the exchange of “valentines” is more the result of secular custom rather than the memory of St. Valentine, and that the celebration has been further paganized with cupids and the like, there is a Christian message that should be remembered. The love of our Lord, depicted beautifully in the image of His most Sacred Heart, is a sacrificial, self-less, and unconditional love. Such is the love that each Christian is called to express in his own life, for God and neighbor. Clearly, St. Valentineno matter which oneshowed such a love, bearing witness to the faith in his dedication as a priest and in the offering of his own life in martyrdom. On this Valentine’s day, looking to the example of this great saint, each person should offer again his love to the Lord, for only by doing so can he properly love those who are entrusted to his care and any other neighbor. Each person should again pledge his love to those loved ones, praying for their intentions, promising fidelity to them, and thanking them for their love in return. Never forget Jesus said, “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:12-13). St. Valentine fulfilled this command, and may we do the same. History of St. Valentine (catholiceducation.org)

Also check out St. Valentine and the Catholic origins of February 14 (aleteia.org)

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