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A short history and meaning of Valentine's Day

Header - The Greatest and Truest Valentine

 

I came to cast fire upon the earth, and would that it were already kindled!  Luke 12:49

 

Sacred Heart of JesusValentine’s Day is dedicated to Love. Details of the origins of Valentine’s Day are lost in the mist of centuries, but two recurring versions speak of St. Valentine as an early priest who was martyred for upholding the sacredness of marriage. Due to an imperial edict in pagan Rome forbidding soldiers in active duty to marry, he performed wedding ceremonies in secret.

Consequently, apprehended and sentenced to death, while in prison, he miraculously cured the daughter of his jailer of a serious complaint. Both father and daughter converted. Before execution, he is supposed to have written the healed girl a note of farewell signed, “Your Valentine”.  This note is the ascribed origin of our own Valentine Celebration.

But in the flurry of hearts, candy boxes and red roses, one great Valentine, He who, ultimately is the origin of every true, selfless love, remains in the background.

Yet, no Heart ever beat with more love than His. No one ever proved love as He did.

Just as we have the need to make our sentiments of friendship and love visible in the shape of hearts, from paper hearts, to candy hearts, to jeweled hearts, so with Him.  As if not able to hide His love for humankind any longer, He decided to make it visible.

The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus has origins even more ancient than those of the priest and martyr Valentine. The first to hint at this devotion was St. John Evangelist when he spoke of the pierced side of the dying Lord, pointing to His wounded heart. St Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Sacred Heart of Jesus

In the Middle-Ages, the idea of the Love of Jesus symbolized by His Heart was personally practiced by many a sage and saint. St. Gertrude is considered one of the early heralds of this devotion, along with her sister St. Mechtilde. St. John Evangelist once appeared to St. Gertrude, and revealed that, at the Last Supper, on leaning his head on the heart of the Lord, he was given an intimation of this devotion, a devotion to remain hidden, and only revealed when hearts would grow cold. 

In June of 1675, Our Lord appeared to a young nun of the Order of the Visitation, Margaret Mary Alacoque. He was radiant with love, His burning heart exposed. He said, “Behold the Heart that has so loved mankind…instead of gratitude, I receive from the greater part, only ingratitude…” 

He asked for a devotion of reparation to His heart wounded by so much ingratitude and indifference, for the receipt of Holy Communion on the first Friday of the month (having made a good Confession if necessary), and the observance of the Holy Hour. He promised amazing blessings to those who display an image of Him with His Sacred Heart exposed in their homes. He also asked for a feast day dedicated to the devotion of His Most Sacred Heart to be celebrated on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, which devotion the Church subsequently established.  

Thus, it was through the humble religious, St. Mary Margaret Mary Alacoque that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Savior was made public, and the world given the greatest and truest of all Valentines.

  

Let us remember Him in our celebration!

 

 


By Andrea F. Phillips

 

Also Read:  Family Tip 7 - Take back our Catholic Holidays 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for June 16, 2021

We should blush with shame to show so much resentment at wha...

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June 16

 

We should blush with shame
to show so much resentment at what is done or said against us,
knowing that so many injuries and affronts
have been offered to our Redeemer and the saints.

St. Teresa of Avila


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Lutgardis

Her forehead and hair were often made wet with drops of bloo...

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St. Lutgardis

Born in the Netherlands in 1182, Lutgardis was sent to a Benedictine convent at the age of twelve because her merchant father had lost the money meant for her dowry, and marriage without it seemed unlikely.

She was fond of worldly things, and had no inclination toward a religious life. However, one afternoon she had a vision of Our Lord, Who showed her His sacred wounds and asked her to love Him and Him alone.

Lutgardis immediately renounced all worldly pleasures and became a religious. She often saw Christ while engaged in prayer, and was allowed to share in His sufferings: her forehead and hair were often made wet with drops of blood when she meditated on The Passion.

Desiring to live under a stricter rule, Lutgardis later joined a Cistercian convent at Aywieres. There she spent the final thirty years of her life, becoming known as a mystic with the gifts of healing and prophecy. During the last eleven years prior to her death she was totally blind, an affliction which she treated as an extraordinary gift from God because it reduced the distractions of the outside world.

Before she died, Our Lord appeared to her to warn her of her approaching death, and asked her to prepare for this event in three ways. She was to give praise to God for what she had received, pray constantly for the conversion of sinners and rely in all things on God alone. She died soon after the vision on June 16, 1246.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothi...

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Visiting a Muslim Family

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida. 

Upon arrival at the home, an elderly grandmother with a group of young children and teens met me at the door. The group was sullen as I brought in the statue, set up the projector and began the introduction.  Unknown to me, I was speaking to a Muslim family.

At a certain point, one of the teens vehemently objected to the phrase “Mother of God” and accused me of blasphemy since Jesus was not God. Quickly the visit became an interesting defense of the Catholic faith. After answering several more objections to the best of my ability, my Islamic hosts allowed me to explain the Rosary, with an attentive audience, I proceeded to pray alone.

After reciting the Rosary, the attendants and I listened to the hostess, who explained why she had assembled the family for the visit.

Several weeks ago, she was hospitalized for a serious illness. She felt alone and abandoned until one day a stranger walked in with a bouquet of flowers, placed it by the bedside and stayed to listen to all of her concerns. The stranger returned repeatedly to renew her flowers, fix her pillows and talk to her. Then the Muslim mother questioned the stranger’s motives, explaining that her own family wasn’t visiting her. The stranger replied that she was a Catholic and Catholics are encouraged to visit the sick.

Requesting more information about the Catholic faith, the mother was told that it was against hospital policy to discuss religion and therefore she would have to search for information on her own.

Upon her release from the hospital, my hostess entered a nearby Catholic church and encountered an America Needs Fatima flier about Our Lady of Fatima. She called the number and set up a home visit to which she then invited her family.

I may never know what has happened to the family, but I regularly pray that their interest in Catholicism has brought them into the folds of the Catholic Church. Of one thing I am certain: Our Lady will never abandon those who invite her into their homes.

By Michael Chad Shibler

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Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida

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