Under The Circumstances
February 14, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. - John 3:16.
The tradition of sending a valentine or writing love letters on this day is believed to have originated with Bishop Valentine. However, the choice of the date of February 14th seems to be rooted in a pagan background. Valentine was serving as a priest in Rome during a time of great persecution. The ruler of the city was Claudius the Cruel and he had forbidden Christian marriages and Christian conversion. Because Valentine persisted in continuing with his Christian duties in secret and refused to worship Roman Gods - he was imprisoned. He became friends with the jailer’s daughter while in prison and led many to Christ even while incarcerated. Claudius eventually executed Valentine. On the day of his death Valentine wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”
St. Valentine has given us a wonderful example of continuing to extend the love of Christ even under the most difficult circumstances much as did the apostle Paul. What do we do when we are “under the circumstances” - when life has taken a wrong turn and we believe things are not working out as we think it should? Many of us climb into our foxholes and the last thing we want to do while “under the circumstances” is share our faith with someone else.
Certainly our Lord Jesus was “under the circumstances” as He was arrested, beaten, mocked, crucified, and buried in a borrowed tomb. You cannot get much more “under the circumstances” than that! But Jesus did not stay there did He? No, He rose again. His resurrection power is seen demonstrated in the lives of the apostle Paul and St. Valentine who also refused to remain “under the circumstances” but continued on with their mission of sharing the love of Christ with all those with whom they came into contact.
You could say that the cross is our Lord’s Valentine Card to all of humankind. The message of His love written in His blood continues on. Let us continue to share that message with all we come into contact no matter what our circumstances may be.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!