St. Valentine’s Day

Valentine (Valentinius: Latin) was a Roman Priest at the time of emperor Claudius, a persecutor of the church. Claudius had an edict to prohibit marriage of young people; based on the theory that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what may come of their families should they be killed in battle.

Valentine lived in a permissive society where polygamy was quite the norm. Yet many seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. Polygamy presented an obvious problem to the church which thought marriage very sacred between one man and one woman for life, and it was to be encouraged. The idea of marriage in the Christian church was what Valentine was about. So he secretly married many because of the edict.

Asterius, one of Valentine’s judges in the violation of Roman law, had a blind daughter. Valentine was supposed to have prayed for her. The young girl healed with such astounding results that Asterius himself became a Christian.

In 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three-part execution of beating, stoning and finally decapitation, all because of his stand for Christian marriage. His last words, we are told, were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.” Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. – (compiled by  Father O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church, Dublin, Ireland)

Although his name remains on the list of officially recognized saints, there is enough confusion surrounding the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969. Each year the day on which St. Valentine is commemorated is February 14th.


When I say I love pizza, the New York Giants or another person; Do I mean that love in the same sense? Common sense tells me no. Because only one of those three previously mentioned is deserving of love.  However, in the english language there is but one word for love used for a variety of circumstances. There are, in reality, three types of love that pertain to person-to-person relationships.

Eros, is known as “erotic love.” It occurs in the early stage of a man-woman “romantic” relationship. Often it is depicted, in a novel way; when a smitten couple is impaled by an arrow delivered from the bow of a scantily clad cherub named “Cupid.” Eros is based strongly on emotions; Eros is physical.

Philos love, is the love based on friendship between two people. Philos is a higher type of love than eros. It is a mutual love in a give and take relationship.  Philos is mental. Each of these first two loves must develop to a higher degree.

Agape love, is that highest degree of love. It is unconditional. It is the love of God for man, and the love of man for God. It is selfless love that holds concern solely for the good of the beloved. Agape is spiritual.


“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”-John 8:12

“Christ is our light; if we are walking away from the sun (for the sun is our symbol of Christ), the shadows are before us. This is one of the reasons we have Catholics afflicted with every manner of psychosis and neurosis, afraid of these lengthening shadows, of the phantoms and fears and dreads. As we walk away from Christ, the further we go, the longer the shadows that appear before us-the resentment, the aggressiveness, just as soon as we are checked and told that we are walking from the light. If however, we walk toward the sun, and intensify our love of Christ, then all the shadows are behind us-all the remorse and regrets. As the sun comes more and more into our life, all these things pass away. Fears are gone, remorse is swallowed up in the intense love of Christ.” – (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

As we can see, light and love are companions. Where there is light, there is love and where there is love, there is light; and both are good because they are of God’s essence.

Why is our love more complete and purer when we are closer to Christ?  Because as the intensity of the light increases, so too does the love that overcomes the shadows of our indiscretions.  Intimacy with Christ impels that all our relationships be pure, just and honorable. Through this intimacy the other love types we experience are then complete in their goodness because of a divinely influenced application of those loves. When we become completely lost in Him, we are found completely in love. In the love that emanates from Him, one finds the strength to do no wrong. True love knows no ego, no pride, no envy, no unkindness, no impatience-no self. Only when love radiates from a selfless and pure heart can it then be nearing perfection. Love’s goodness is found in the light, not in darkness.

This movement toward Agape love is not a biological process of adjustment urged on by outside stimuli in keeping with an evolutionary theory. Rather it is a maturing process, spurred on by a conscious intellectual and spiritual effort, where movement toward the end that is sought ceases at the fullness of perfection.

All movement requires a mover. God is the mover and conserver of the universe and all it contains, including humanity. And when all comes full circle, we, through that movement toward perfection, guided by His will, shall return to Him; where perfection begins and ends. We will then have achieved Agape love – love without imperfection; accompanied by truth without flaws and life without end.

Love cannot be hoarded. It cannot be kept to oneself. For love is valueless unless it is offered to another. Valentine understood this principle and was willing to violate Roman law and put his life at risk to ensure that love would not be diminished, nor marriage marginalized; and for it he was martyred.

“A bell is not a bell ’til you ring it-A song’s not a song ’til you sing it-Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay-Love isn’t love “til you give it away!”- (Oscar Hammerstein II)




About Alan A. Malizia: Contagious Optimism! Co-Author

Retired mathematics teacher and high school athletics coach. Honors: 1988 Ct. Coach of the Year for H.S. Girls Voleyball and 2007 Inducted into the Ct. Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame. Since retiring have written two books; "The Little Red Chair," an autobiography about my life experience as a polio survivor and "A View From The Quiet Corner," a selection of poems and reflections. Presently I am a contributing author for the "Life Carrots" series primarily authored by Dave Mezzapelle of
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4 Responses to St. Valentine’s Day

  1. This is a really interesting insight Alan about Valentine and who he was. What an amazing man of courage and a understanding of love. Your words are very wise.


  2. Beautiful and rich, Alan. I actually had not known the history (even as a former Classics minor). Just fascinating, not to mention tragic. Appreciate your descontruction of the word and meaning of love.


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