St. Valentine baptizing St. Lucilla by Jacopo da Ponte

Speaking Out: Valentine’s Day is for all love

By  Speaking Out, Kathleena Henricus
  • February 14, 2019

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and sometimes it feels like just another excuse for the greeting card industry to make a grab for your money. Though biblical in origin, the sweet secular sentiments of love have been overshadowed by pressure to be in a relationship, purchase grocery-store flowers and indulge the chocolate makers.

St. Valentine was a priest who fought to protect the sacrament of marriage by marrying young couples, directly defying the orders of Emperor Claudius II who wanted all the young men to be single soldiers.

As someone who hadn’t even heard of this story until researching this column, I was disappointed that the only stories we hear about Valentine’s Day are those of consumerism and romantic love.

Yes, Valentine’s Day serves as a great reminder to do something nice for your partner, but why should we be limited to one kind of love on one day?

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the Bible tells us what love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast….” Though often read at weddings and celebrations of romantic love, it also refers to platonic, familial, spiritual and self-love. These, the purest forms of unconditional love, are some of the hardest to maintain, but they should never be overshadowed by boxed chocolate.

Real love takes commitment, through good times and bad, for richer or for poorer, for whatever life throws your way.

Sometimes real love is offering a friend a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes real love is helping your sibling with their homework after they disabled your phone. Sometimes real love is putting aside minor differences to make time to have dinner with your family. Sometimes real love is putting you and your journey with Christ first by cutting toxic people out of your life, even though it hurts.

Love is a plant that needs substance and structure, to both sustain us and to be the calm in a storm. Our lives are best when we are surrounded by those we love, those who nurture us and help us grow.

Love is so much more than the glimpse we see on Valentine’s Day. Real love is not boastful at a fancy restaurant. It does not remember when you forgot to call. It does not ignore friends and family. And it does not exist for just one day a year.

Don’t view Valentine’s Day as your one day in the year to find love. View the other 364 days as opportunities to show the people you have in your life that you love them.

Use the next Valentine’s Day to celebrate your friends, your family, your faith and everyone else who makes your life worth living. Love doesn’t deserve to be bottled up and slapped with a price tag.

For the next Valentine’s Day, count your blessings and the exorbitant amount of love you experience every day, whatever kind of love it may be.

(Henricus, 15, is a Grade 10 student at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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