By Christina Hermoso
“We have to show how much we love in actions not only in words,” a Catholic Church leader reminds the faithful as Filipinos celebrate Valentine’s Day tomorrow, February 14.
“As we observe Valentine’s Day, I would like to remind the faithful to show not merely say how much we love a person. To say ‘I love you’ means I will stay with you. I am here for you. Let our love show in our deeds because words are simply not enough,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos in an interview.
“To show love is to be present not only during good times but more so during difficulties. We see to it that our words and deeds show how much we love and how much we care,” Santos added.
“How do we show our love? It is to protect whom we love, not to hurt, not to betray nor abandon. The sincerity of our love is made evident and visible by our faithfulness. To show our love is to provide what is best and beneficial for our beloved,” Santos said.
Meanwhile, special masses, floral offerings, and novena prayers will be offered in several Catholic churches in the country and in many parts of the world in honor of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers.
In the country, mass weddings and renewal of marriage vows are common practices held on Valentine’s Day.
In Dublin, Ireland, the sacred relics of St. Valentine, a small vessel tinged with his blood in a wooden case, will be carried in a solemn procession to be followed by a special mass dedicated to young people and lovers of all ages.
The observance of the Feast of St. Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I on Feb. 14, 496 A.D. in memory of a kind-hearted Roman priest who was arrested, clubbed, and eventually beheaded for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry, ministering to Christians, giving aid to martyrs in prison, and for refusing to renounce his faith during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, a time when Christians were severely persecuted and punished.
According to stories, St. Valentine, while still in jail, was able to convert his jailer to Christianity after he restored the eyesight of his blind daughter. Before St. Valentine was beheaded on Feb. 14, 269, he wrote a farewell note to her and signed it: “From Your Valentine.” The well-loved priest was buried at the Flaminian Way in Rome, Italy, where a basilica was built in his honor and memory.
His association with love and romance supports the belief that during the month of February, birds choose their mates, hence, St. Valentine’s association with love birds and doves, as well as the color red which is both the symbol of martyrdom and love.