Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Helping a Heart to Heal

Hi everyone,

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches several things have come to mind.  While some fellow broken heart-ed souls dread this day, I cannot help but want to search for something more.  A Hallmark Channel addict, I am just not one to let my broken heart become a bitter heart.  So as usual I set out on my quest to research and find out more about The Day!  

Our Lady of the Rosary Library shares with us the Story of St. Valentine.

"The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr.   The emperor was Claudius II.   The Christian was Valentinus.

Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.   But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ; not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs.   He was arrested and imprisoned.

During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing happened.   Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentinus for lessons.   She had been blind since birth.   Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind.   Valentinus read stories of Rome's history to her.   He described the world of nature to her.   He taught her arithmetic and told her about God.  She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.

"Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia asked one day.

"Yes, my child, He hears each one."

"Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night?  I pray that I might see.   I want so much to see everything you've told me about!"

"God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him," Valentinus said.

"Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!"  She knelt and grasped his hand.

They sat quietly together, each praying.   Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell.   Radiant, Julia screamed, "Valentinus, I can see!  I can see!"

"Praise be to God!"  Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.

On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God.   He signed it, "From your Valentine."  His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.   He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome.   It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave.   Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.   On each February 14, Saint Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world."

By taking the time to research the story behind this day I now come away with something so much sweeter than chocolate and so much more beautiful roses.  For what I have learned is that Saint Valentine was not trying to make a name for himself or become a saint.  This was a humble Christian man who listened to The Lord’s calling on His life and was willing to go where the Holy Spirit led him, even if it meant death.  How many of us are willing to truly listen to the gentle whisper of the Lord and follow it, even if the end result could possibly mean death.  Kayla Mueller was also willing to listen to The Lord and wanted nothing more than to help others, even though it meant that her young life would be cut short. 

How many of us are willing to help others at any cost?  How many of us love our fellow man, even to the point of death?  How many of us are patient enough to listen to The Lord's answers to our prayers?  And how many of us have the faith of Julia?  The kind of faith that Matthew 17:20 tells us about:

"if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."  

So as Valentine’s Day comes near I encourage you not to focus on the flowers and candy, but rather on what do you have to offer those around you that are hurting and need to know you care.  A note to let someone know that you are praying for them may be the only Valentine they receive, but you never know, it just may be what The Lord knows they need in their life - it may be their "mustard seed."


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