Did you know that 3rd c. St. Valentine was a healer? In her timely blog, Wendy Margolese asks us to look beneath the superficial meaning of romanticized Valentine’s Day to a deeper understanding of divine healing love. Wendy’s blog “Introducing St. Valentine, the healer,” was first published in the Vancouver Courier on February 11, 2017.
The legend that inspires our annual celebration of love on Valentine Day focuses on only one aspect of an interesting man – as if romantic love is the only thing for which we should remember this patron saint.
Celebrating love in many forms is a wonderful idea on any day of the year. But there are problems when we confine ourselves only to the human, emotional form of love that is constantly presented in books, movies and mass media. The trouble is, that this view of love is variable, conditional and easily lost. It can cause joy and happiness, but also pain and grief.
This two-sided view of love means that we miss a key point about the source and nature of the deeper, more universally embracing love that Saint Valentine understood and lived. Just one brief story from his life tells us there’s more than we’ve come to believe.
St. Valentine – Bishop of Rome – was a 3rd century Christian healer at a time when the Christian church was persecuted. On trial for his faith, Valentine faced one judge who had an adopted daughter who was blind. The judge, named Asterius, challenged Valentine to heal the girl. Valentine did heal her, and the healing so changed Asterius’s view of this new faith that he converted to Christianity. Perhaps Asterius glimpsed a love that was far more profound than the limited emotional concept that humanity entertains. After all, this love could do what mere human love couldn’t – heal!