In nearly 40 years of Valentine’s Days, many of which the good Lord in His grace has allowed me to forget (because they were so horrible), I finally had one that was so perfect it moved me to tears. And in those tears, I realized just how much this day is about True Love.
When we’re told to keep hope, we often hold on to it without any real understanding of what that moment of hope fulfilled will look like. Maybe we imagine a sink empty of dishes, a nice dinner out, flowers, and chocolates and a sentimental card but truly, AN ENCOUNTER WITH TRUE LOVE is Much More than these. Valentine’s Day isn’t even really about what you do for those you love; it’s about what God is doing to show His love to those you love THROUGH YOU. If you’re doing it right, you won’t be asking others “Will you be my Valentine?” You’ll be showing them, “I AM your Valentine.” True love isn’t about receiving, so much as it is about giving.
The example of Saint Valentine is used each year by the Church to remind us that behind every encounter of True Love is an Encounter with the One True God who Himself IS Love. Saint Valentine was a man, a Bishop in 204 AD, who willingly offered his gifts he’d been given through the power of the Holy Spirit, to help encourage others toward marriage in a time such unions were being outlawed. And even when he was imprisoned for breaking the law, he still showed mercy to his captors by stretching out his hands to heal. His actions of Love were confirmed by the conversion of an entire household to the Truth about Jesus. His final parting gift to his captors on the day of his beheading, a note of love and blessings signed, “Your Valentine.”
If we take the Saint out of the Day, we have a distorted picture of what this day is all about. But if we remember what it truly means to be someone’s Valentine, then we are opening ourselves up to an ENCOUNTER WITH TRUE LOVE. Yesterday, I experienced that encounter most fully on a day that had yet to see its hope fulfilled in my heart.
After 9 days of prayer in the UPPER ROOM, of my heart, having just completed our Valentine’s Day Novena, my soul was ripe for encounter. Prayer will always lead you to encounter. Just look to the disciples who spent 9 days in prayer in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is where the church gets the standard for praying “Novenas,” which is Latin for “9 days.” When we spend time meditating on the Scriptures and praying, we begin to see our thoughts and actions take on the likeness of what we are meditating upon. That’s why prayer is THE Answer to all of life’s woes. From there we begin to see what to do next, because we are literally becoming the image of Christ.
My heart was turned over and I began to see this Day in a New Way.
In every person I encountered, I realized My Valentine was waiting for me.
The One who gave it all continues to give it away through every soul we meet. From the Lilies my husband surprised me with in the morning, a reminder of Saint Joseph’s protection over our family, to the prophetic words of the Lord coming from my husband’s pen on the card he gave me, I knew My Valentine was speaking to me. At the creamery among the cows, pigs and chickens, I saw My Valentine’s face reflected in the joy of children. At the home of a generous family who invited our Catholic homeschool group of over 60 to enjoy BBQ, Kona Ice treats and Bounce House Fun, My Valentine was leaving me notes of love everywhere along my path. Yes, even in the heart shaped pizza we would share for dinner later that night with family.
But it was the surprise of the day that really moved my heart. Our dear sister had arranged for a priest to come say Mass outside in her backyard for our little group. Watching the kids praise and worship “My Valentine” next to a Bounce House made for children, I realized our Lord is not just “My Valentine”, he’s Our Valentine. He wasn’t just leaving me love notes, he’s been leaving love notes to all who will see Him at work on their path.
I cannot fully describe to you the beauty of that one moment, as Our Valentine’s body was lifted above the cup of the blood, over the altar of our marriage bed, all the children adoring him at his feet, my hope had been fulfilled. Who encounters such things as these?! Christ in my backyard! Christ among all these children! Christ with his priest celebrating the most Holy of Prayers, the Mass on earth as it is in Heaven – next to a Bounce House! My heart exclaimed it like Elizabeth, “Who am I that my Lord should come to me like this!” There was no other way to describe it than this Day was THE BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER!
The day continued with a plentitude of love notes from Our Valentine. Opportunity for the Sacrament of Confession was being offered to mothers and children in the quiet, serene bedroom of our hosts by the priest they had invited into their home. Watching our beautiful community be blessed by such Love from Our Valentine was overwhelming. Hearts were being healed in ways only a True Valentine could know!
“A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when it is fulfilled, our desire grows.”Proverbs 13:12
Dear Friends and Beloved Ones, we may not know the hour of our fulfillment nor the details of how it will come but we can rest assured that when it does it will be a tree of life in our garden. NO ONE can pull it off better than Our Valentine, King of Our Hearts, King Jesus.
Let no one dissuade you from Love. When your Healer comes to you, “Let your heart be healed.”
Nevermind about what others might say of it, be at peace with how it happens and let go the notions that it could come by any other means. Your Valentine knows EXACTLY how to love your heart.
And when we’ve found that healing, let us then allow ourselves to love those others in our lives with the love we have found. Only let us sign off on our good deeds to them not with our own names, for what is our own name compared to the name which is above all others; let us sign it with His: “Your Valentine.”
Who knows, maybe Saint Valentine’s Day could become more than just another day; maybe it could be our every day.