“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
A much-awaited and celebrated occasion by those who are in love is what Valentine’s Day is about. Not only is this day about love for a mate, but also extends to love for parents, siblings, relatives, friends and associates. What is the real essence of the celebration?
Saint Valentine is associated with two martyrs of the early Christian Church. Although little is known for certain about these two, they seem to have been beheaded and buried in different places on February 14.
Saint Valentine signifies valor and lovers appeal to him for courage and strength when facing difficulties in their romantic relationships. The custom of sending “valentines” or love tokens has an accidental connection with Saint Valentine. It originated from the medieval belief, held generally in England and France, that the second half of the second month was when birds began to mate. This was traced to the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer who mentioned this event in his poem. Later, William Shakespeare cited this in Hamlet. The sending love letters on this day is based on the belief that birds, after the long winter abstinence from lovemaking, begin to pair on Valentine’s Day. The custom of sending greeting cards called Valentines persisted since then. Many Valentines have romantic verses with humorous pictures and sayings, mostly saying “Be My Valentine.”
Different countries celebrate Valentine’s Day in many different ways. We have our own custom of celebrating Valentine’s Day as adopted from Western culture. We send flowers, chocolates or candies to our loved ones and ask them to be our Valentine. This is usually culminated with dining out with family, friends or sweethearts.
This occasion is, indeed, a time to celebrate, an occasion to express love for others. It is easy to love those who are already dear to us. But as Christians, we are called to love even those who have offended us and to heal our broken relationships. We are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, so that we may become worthy children of our Father in heaven.
May these thoughts lead to positive shifts in all relationships.
Dr. Conchita L. Manabat is the president of the Development Center for Finance, a joint undertaking of the Finex Research & Development Foundation, Inc. and the Virata School of Business at the University of the Philippines. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Finex Development & Research Foundation, Children’s Hour and the University of San Carlos. A past chairman of the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI), she now serves as the chairperson of the Advisory Council of the said organization. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Finex.