In today's Standard issue we have a few articles about Valentine's Day. But like we have in the other commerative times of our culture Saint Valentine, originally Valentinus, was later given Sainthood after his death, that's how it's done. Once a life is finished the sum of it can be considered, presumably because before that it's always to soon to tell the overriding truth in someone's life.
In the time of Saint Valentine and before, during the conquest of the Roman empire, there was on Feb 14th and 15th a pagan celebration to a Roman diety called Lupercus, in Greece often connected with their Pan. Two military tyrants, Romulus and Remus known as the founders of Rome, were supposedly born to, and raised by, a female wolf in a cave.
The Roman celebration Lupercalia took place in that cave. Connected with fertility, as it's priests would sacrifice two goats, symbols of fertility, and with purity and security, as they would also scarifice a dog, the symbol of the domestic wolf, sent as the loyal friend of man and the protector of the flocks against the wolf and other predators.
Strips of the goats skin were cut and dipped in the combined blood, carried to the community for women and crops to be fertile. These strips were flicked on the plants and women in hopes of imparting increased fertility .
Older children would honour the Female diety Juno Februata during this same celebration time, likey where we get the name for the month of February, and girls would write thier names on a piece of paper and place them in a large container, to be drawn from by and paired with a boy for the year. Interestingly, due to this intended platonic arrangement, many became husband and wife because of the year long trial engagement.
Even though Rome was plagued with wolf attacks during the Roman conquests, probably drawn by the scent of blood, Lupercalia was a favourite rite which continued until Rome, like our own government, decided it wanted to dictate the morality of it's people, for it's own pathalogical political ends. Awfully strange for a government who claimed to be civilizers of men and who's philosophy was one of equality of citizenry.
So that sets up the scene!
Rome had dominated the then known world, but it had extended itself too far and thinned out it's manpower, and consequently it's influence. Rather than regroup and allow it's population to recover, egomania drove bad choices. Claudius II determined that married soldier's attentions were divided between their duty's as a soldier and the needs at home. Originally Rome decided that a married soldier would fight harder to maintain the might of Rome and so secure the family at home. How unstable an opportunistic government becomes. In an effort to bolster the focus of his men and resupply the presence of his influence, the Roman Emporer forbade the marrying of soldiers so their focus could be singular, and banned the practices of the fertility rituals, including the drawing of names.
But the internal convictions of young lovers cannot be bound by legislation. Many sought a way around the forbidding of marriage. A Roman Priest, Valentinus, someone Claudius would not suspect, defied the edict and continued the practice, of name picking and marriage, in secret, defending the rite of marital love and the bonds that come with it for years. There is a debate as to whether he was a compromised priest because of his working with the spiritual practices of the people, but I say he used Paul the Apostles approach which says, “Become all things to all men that by all means you might same some.” He looked in the heart of these people and could see their honest desire for real commited relationships sealed by a Deity not a piece of paper. If any of real Christendom resided within him I'm positive he intended to eventually eliminate the rest of the other practices, to make all things clean, and was willing to lay down his life for God's way. This defender of family was later caught, and was heard of no more. Whether he was hung, beheaded or simply jailed and wasted away in obscurity, the life he lead remained anything but obscure. To the point where it's sum was Sainted.
Let's follow his example in life everyday, and make the sacrifice for Love.
Happy Valentines Day!
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