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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 September 30, 2020

Either we must speak as we dress, or dress as we speak. Why...

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September 30

 

Either we must speak as we dress,
or dress as we speak.
Why do we profess one thing and display another?
The tongue talks of chastity, but the whole body reveals impurity.

St. Jerome


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Jerome

He became seriously ill and had a dream that profoundly impa...

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St. Jerome

St. Jerome is a Father and Doctor of the Church who is best known for his compiling of the Vulgate version of the Catholic Bible, now the standard edition in use.

He was born about the year 347 at Stidon, near Dalmatia, to wealthy Christian parents. Initially educated at home, his parents soon sent him to Rome to further his intense desire for intellectual learning. There he studied and excelled at grammar, Latin and Greek, rhetoric, and philosophy, and lived a deeply materialistic life alongside his fellow students. Jerome was baptized in his late teen years, as was the custom at the time, around the time he finished his schooling.

After spending many years in travel and, notably, discovering and investigating his extreme interest in monasticism, Jerome’s life took a sudden turn. In the spring of 375, he became seriously ill and had a dream that profoundly impacted him, because in it he was accused of being a follower of Cicero – an early Roman philosopher – and not a Christian. Afterwards, Jerome vowed never to read any pagan literature again – not even the classics for pleasure. He separated himself from society and left to become a hermit in the desert so as to atone for his sins and dedicate himself to God. Having no experience of monasticism and no guide to direct him, Jerome suffered greatly and was often quite ill. He was plagued terribly with temptations of the flesh and would impose harsh penances on himself to repress them. While there, he undertook the learning of Hebrew, as an added penance, and was tutored by a Jewish convert. When controversy arose among his fellow monks in the desert concerning the bishopric of Antioch, Jerome left to avoid the tension of the position he found himself in.

Having developed a reputation as a great scholar and ascetic, Jerome was ordained to the priesthood by the persuasion of Bishop Paulinus, on the condition that he be allowed to continue his monastic lifestyle and not be obliged to assume pastoral duties.

In 382, he was appointed as secretary to Pope Damascus, who urged him to undertake a Latin translation of the Bible from its original Greek and Hebrew origins.

After the death of the Holy Pontiff, Jerome left Rome for the Holy Land with a small group of virgins who were led by his close friend, Paula. Under his direction, Paula established a monastery for men in Bethlehem and three cloisters for women. Jerome remained at this monastery until his death around A.D. 420, only leaving occasionally for brief trips. He is the patron saint of librarians and translators.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort...

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The Rosary, the Devil and the Queen

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, he was known for his powerful, moving sermons on the Rosary, which led people to adopt this devotion to their great benefit.

Furiously jealous of the holy man’s success with souls, the devil began to so torture Thomas that he fell sick, and was so ill for so long that the doctors gave up on saving his life.

One night, when the poor man thought he was near death, the devil appeared to him in a hideous form, coward that he is, seeking to frighten Thomas into despair.

But, making an effort, the good priest turned to a beautiful picture of Our Lady near his bed crying out with all his heart and strength:

“Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!”

No sooner had he pronounced these words, the picture came alive and extending her hand, the heavenly Lady laid it reassuringly on the priest’s arm, saying:

“Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you. Get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you did before. I promise to shield and protect you from your enemies.”

No sooner had Our Lady pronounced these words, than the devil fled in a hurry. Getting up, Thomas found that he was perfectly healed. 

Thanking the Blessed Mother with tears of joy, Blessed Thomas again went about preaching the Holy Rosary, now with renewed favor and gumption, and his apostolate and his sermons were enormously successful. 

St. Louis the Montfort concludes this story saying, “Our lady not only blesses those who say her Rosary, but also abundantly rewards those who, by their example, inspire others to say it as well.”

 


 

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In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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