The story of St. Valentine has nothing to do with flowers and candy or Valentine's Day as we celebrate it on Feb. 14. Except in one way (we'll get to that). It has nothing in common with romance as we know it. But Valentine's story is spiritually romantic. Valentinius was a Roman Christian priest. In those days, this was not popular. In fact, it was downright illegal.
Then-Emperor Claudius II decided he'd make marriage illegal too--so men would give up women go fight his battles. Not exactly an even quid pro quo. But Claudius wasn't the most savvy guy. Anyway, Valentine understood human nature better. He performed underground marriages so people could keep sanctified romances and holy love. Valentine was jailed for his pains.
So, being a helpful and proactive kind of guy, Valentine wrote notes of encouragement to his fellow incarcerated. He signed them "Your Valentine." There grew the card-sending tradition--the only part of the real meaning of Valentine's Day that is practiced today. Valentine was martyred on Feb. 14. It became a holy day--holiday--in the Catholic church.
Predictably, the spiritual bits of the story are ignored for the commercial. True, Valentine's story is based on legend, but most stories of antiquity are oral tradition. Anyway, it seems a more fitting expression of the holiday than just flowers and candy. If you do too, here are free printable Catholic St. Valentine activities and lessons.
Catholic Inspired has free printable St. Valentine activities. You can print St. Valentine worksheets, games and crafts from Catholic Icing. ABC Teach has printable lesson plans based on the Legend ofSt. Valentine. Busy Teacher has over 100 free printable Valentine's Day activities. Some are the secular hearts and candy valentine crafts. But there are some Catholic history-based printables too. Lastly, Catholic Greetings has free printable Christian valentines to share.
Children might be encouraged to print valentines and send to lonely old people and shut-ins. That would be very loving. Here's how the dear saint ended his "valentines" "Be of good cheer. Don't lose hope. Your Valentine (sign name)" (very loosely translated from the Latin). So how about you? Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Or is it just too gimmicky? Let us know in comments below.