VALENTINE: CELEBRATE THE LOVE THAT MATTERS
St. Valentine’s Day is very probably the single day that most associate with love and romance. Couples around the Western world will celebrate by exchanging gifts and enjoying special dinners out. Flower shops and chocolatiers will register record sales. Some lovers will even become engaged. February 14th, like no other day the entire year, is a day to be in love.
The origins of St. Valentine’s Day are somewhat mysterious and are quite likely based on legend more than on fact. Although Valentine’s Day was officially dropped from the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church in 1969, the original celebration recognized February 14th as the Feast Day for at least three different Valentines, the most well-known of which is a martyr who died in around 270 C.E. Some stories exist of a third-century, Roman priest named Valentine who served under Emperor Claudius II.
When Claudius outlawed marriage for young men, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men, Valentine performed secret marriages. When his defiance of the emperor was discovered, Valentine was put to death. Another story tells of a Valentine who was imprisoned. In love with a young girl that some believe to have been the prison guard’s daughter, Valentine sent her a letter signed, “From your Valentine.” Our tradition of sending special Valentine cards clearly grew from this story.
Like many other holidays (Holy Days), the imagery and traditions that make up our celebration of Valentine’s Day are a composite of several belief systems. Cupid (from the Latin cupido, meaning desire) is the Roman god of affection, desire, and erotic love. The date (February 14) coincides with ancient pagan celebrations of Lupercalia, a fertility god often associated with the Greek god Pan, known for his sexual powers. The tradition of sending red roses harkens back to the Victorian era, when flowers were sent to convey specific messages. In the ‘language of flowers,’ a red rose represents true love.
History and traditions aside, February 14th is a day to express love. Sadly, for many, the emphasis placed on romantic love is a source of dismay, disillusionment, and depression. Societal pressure to be coupled is overwhelming, especially for people of a certain age, and Valentine’s Day intensifies this pressure. For those single persons who desire to be in a relationship, the day can be a painful reminder of what seems to be lacking in their lives. For those who are happily single, dodging the misdirected pity of well-meaning friends and family can be truly uncomfortable. It is no wonder that parties like Fernando and Greg’s Bitter Ball have become the antithesis of the typical Valentine’s Day date night.
While romantic love is indeed wonderful and deserves celebration, why not make Valentine’s Day an opportunity to take stock of all the ways that love comes into our lives as well as the ways we love others? Those on a spiritual path know and understand that love, in all its forms and expressions, is the very meaning of life. God/Source/the Universe, that energy that created all that is and which makes up our souls, is pure love.
A Course in Miracles is based entirely on the premise that only love is real and that miracles occur when thoughts of fear are relinquished to give way to thoughts of love. Students of Law of Attraction know that every thought sends out a vibration and that thoughts of love vibrate at the highest frequency and thus have the most attractive energy. Jesus directed his disciples with these words, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Our mission on this planet is to love those we have been given to love – our moms and dads, our brothers and sisters, our colleagues and teachers, our dearest friends and our fiercest enemies, those we know well and those we will never meet, and most important OURSELVES. In the grand scheme of things, romantic love is really only a tiny fraction of the love that exists in our lives.
The love that matters: Is not sexual immoral love, partying and erotic activities in club and disco houses but the Love that God Himself demonstrated in His Son Jesus Christ that begot us to be His through his sacrificial death that redeemed us from sin bondage, Satan and death to live victoriously in and for Him. Hear what the Bible says of this love. 1 John 4:7-21, “7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19We love him, because he first loved us. 20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” This love covers a multitude of sins. It makes you overcome sin and live in victory. I pray you experience this love by giving your life to Jesus Christ now (Jn. 1:11-13).
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge all of us to walk through our days as messengers of love. Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love, tells us that every encounter is a holy encounter. Being mindful of that can change who we are and how we interact with those around us. By extending our love to all we meet, by silently speaking a prayer or surrounding those we meet in pure, white light, we can make a profound difference in how we approach the day. And before long, we can change the world.
Dr. Lewis Akpogena,
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