This Week on Knight Life
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we are reminded of the importance of authentic love in our daily lives. This comes first in our relationship with Christ, and second in our vocations. Yet in today’s modern age, the average individual is settling for something much less than the authentic love of Christ and his Church. This is especially prevalent on today’s college campuses. So what does this day on the calendar each year truly mean? How do we get past the roses and chocolates to find the true heart of Valentine’s Day? In this segment, I sat down with two good friends of mine, who are answering that question daily, as dating Catholics. Plus, as a history major at Drake University, I know the importance of historical context to a particular topic. So I thought a little history lesson on the saint this day is based on, might be appropriate to understanding the true meaning of authentic love.
James Maertens takes us on this week’s half hour of information, inspiration and invitation around the activities of the Iowa Knights of Columbus.
This is Knight Life…our Mission is to Go Make A Difference – for our brother Knights, for their families, for life… all life.
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Overview of the Podcast
The origin and life of Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine is largely legend and speculation. But there are some concrete facts that help shed light on this saint and the origins of this holiday. Valentine was a priest during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius II. Many historians have claimed that Valentine was a faithful Catholic priest, defying the emperor’s decrees against marriages by wedding men and women in secret. He was also said to have aided Christians against the Roman persecution. Upon learning of the secret weddings, Claudius had Valentine arrested. Legend has it that Valentine, while in prison, developed a cordial relationship with the jailer’s blind daughter. The legend has it that Valentine cured the girl of her blindness and, just before his death, wrote her a note that was signed “from your Valentine”. Another legend states that Claudius actually took a liking to Valentine. But once Valentine tried to persuade the emperor to convert to Christianity, Claudius had Valentine sentenced to death. He was then beaten with clubs and beheaded on February 14th, in the year 269.
A church near Ponte Mole in Valentine’s name was attributed by Pope Julius I and inspired the name given to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, originally Porta Valenti. Most of his relics are now in St. Praxedes Church in Rome. In 496, shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire, Pope Gelasius conferred February 14th as a celebration in honor of Valentine’s martyrdom. The first depiction of Valentine occurred in the Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 1493. Archaeologists have also discovered a catacomb and church dedicated to the saint. The largest question that still remains today is whether all of these findings are attributed to indeed one man, or possibly multiple Valentines, as there are historians on both sides of the argument. His feast day is still celebrated on February 14th.
So on this Valentine’s Day, cards and nice dinners are good, but giving a gift of sacrifice for your loved one will imitate the true selflessness exhibited by Saint Valentine. My brother knights, I challenge you to sacrifice your time, talents, and energy this Valentine’s Day for the women in your life who sacrifice so much for you. Next on Knight Life, I have a conversation with a Catholic, college couple who incorporates selfless sacrifices and authentic love in their daily lives.
Recently, James sat down with two good friends of who are discerning the vocation of marriage together. Jonathan is a junior at Drake University, studying Actuarial Science and Finance. Cassandra is a senior, also at Drake, studying health sciences. Cassandra is also currently studying to be an NFP practitioner, through the Pope Paul VI institute in Omaha. Both lead very challenging lives, but make sacrifices for their Church and for each other.
So brothers, how do we extend this charity beyond our loved ones this Valentine’s Day? Love goes beyond the one’s we know or the one’s most important in our lives. The love of Christ, through all our principles, but especially charity, extends to all children of God. So how can councils around Des Moines, Iowa, and our nation contribute to the authentic love St. Valentine, and many others have brought to the world in the name of Christ?
I challenge all councils to display an act of charity around this celebration of love. Maybe your council could write Valentine’s Day cards to veterans or patients in children’s hospitals. Or maybe your council could volunteer at a local food shelter or soup kitchen, to provide meals for those who have no nice dinner to look forward to. Maybe your council could visit inmates, who maybe have no one in their lives to extend them the authentic love of Christ. For the younger, college councils, a great idea would be to distribute flowers, doesn’t have to be roses, to women around campus, as a gesture of love for all women.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to consist of scouring Target for the cutest stuffed teddy bear. It could mean so much more than that. As is fitting with this day of the year, I would like to close with a poetic prayer to St. Valentine:
O St. Valentine, lover of Christ and of the Church, we ask your intercession that we may learn how to love God above all things, and to selflessly love one another. O glorious St Valentine, pray for us, that we too may have the steadfast faith of the martyrs. Amen.
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I’m James Maertens, thank you for listening. Feeling inspired? Then Go Make A Difference in the World by your word and by your deeds.
Knight Life is a production of the Iowa Knights of Columbus.