My Precious Valentine-A A +A
By Luci Lizares
Saturday, February 16, 2013
VALENTINE’S Day comes annually and the outpouring of love abounds. Traffic becomes unusually condensed with everyone heading somewhere to spend the special day with their loved ones. Families gather together to express their love and devotion for lolo, lola, parents and all the children down to the last apo.
But what really is the story of Valentine’s Day? What do we know of St Valentine? He is definitely more than the cute cherub with the arrow playing cupid.
In the 3rd century, an oppressive emperor, Claudius, ordered all Romans to worship 12 idols and made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.
A humble Christian by the name of Valentinus was dedicated to his ideals of Christ and even the threat of death could not keep him from practicing his beliefs. For this, he was arrested and locked up in prison.
Because he was a man of learning, his jailer wanted his blind daughter to take lessons from him. Julia though blind had a quick mind and Valentinus taught her about the history of Rome, about nature and the world around her and arithmetic. He told her about God. She trusted his wisdom and saw the world through his eyes and found comfort in his quiet strength.
One day Julia asked Valentinus a question: ‘Does God really hear our prayers? “Yes, my child,” he replied. Julia continued: “Do you know what I pray for day and night? That I might see all what you have told me and taught me”.
Valentinus said: “God does what is best for us, as long as we truly believe”. And she said: “I truly do!” She knelt and grasped his hands and together they prayed. Suddenly, there was a brilliant light in the prison cell and Julia cried out: “I can see, I can see”. “Praise be to God” exclaims Valentinus.
On the eve of Valentinus’ last day, he wrote a letter to Julia telling her to stay close to God and signed it “From your Valentine”.
The next day, February 14 270 A.D., his sentence was carried out. The gate proximal to where he was executed is now dedicated to him and called Porto Valentini. His body lies in the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. The almond tree represents abiding love and friendship.
What a beautiful story about St. Valentine. It transcends stories of romantic love which is the core of most love themes that goes with the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Here we see God’s Almighty Hand performing a miracle to a true believer and how one man faithful to his God can transform the world of a blind girl into one of hope, faith and love.
As we all know the greatest of these virtues is Love. Love Precious Love.
This year, the good Lord gifted me with a most precious Valentine gift. A gift that can never be measured in currency, diamonds, pearls or gold because it is the gift of life. The life of a child, Jose Iñigo Alessandro Estela Yunque, my first apo.
Iñigo came into this world through a difficult pregnancy. Katy, my daughter-in-law, had to subject herself to complete bed rest for a month in November stretching through December. After which, there were visits in and out of the hospital in January because Iñigo was raring to be part of humanity while not yet full term.
Modern medicine has so changed since my child-bearing days. Now obstetricians have a way of stalling contractions by the use of Bricanyl. This was unheard of during our time. By reaching 37 weeks of pregnancy, there is the better assurance of the baby’s respiratory and other vital organs to be fully developed. We can never argue that we all pray what is best for the child.
With the 37 weeks completed, a new challenge came to the fore. Katy’s test results did not look good and mother and child cannot be compromised. So an immediate schedule to be induced was in order the following day.
Together with the Estelas, Raymond and Dianne, we saw Katy in pain as she labored for 9 hours. This made me understand fully why my mother agonized together with me during my deliveries.
Believing that it was now just a matter of time as Katy was transferred to the Delivery Room, we received news that a caesarian section had to be performed. Again, anxiety engulfed us as we rushed to see Katy being wheeled into elevator onto the 2nd floor for the Operation Room.
We couldn’t help but storm heaven with more prayers. I was picturing Our Blessed Mother with her blue mantle of protection wrapped around Katy and Iñigo.
Soon after, Iñigo made his entrance to our world. We could see from a distance doctors and nurses hovering over him. Andre was craning his neck for some news about Katy.
Finally, Dr. Tet Magno, Katy’s friend, a resident obstetrician and Dr. Diente, the pediatrician, came out to tell us that both mother and child are well. Thank you Lord!
It was a beautiful day to be born, February 3, a Sunday, the day after the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mother and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple or popularly known as the Candelaria. It was also the feast of 2 saints: St. Blaise and St Anskar.
This Valentine’s Day, as I look at my precious apo, Valentine’s Day comes with a new meaning. While I cannot thank God enough for His gift of love to all of us his family, thoughts of Love come into my mind.
Love is not a romantic novel or telenovela to give us “kilig” moments. Valentine’s is not about roses and chocolates and teddy bears, even if I love all of them.
Love is sacrifice of a mother who went through a difficult pregnancy and an even more arduous delivery but, after looking at her son’s face, can say: “It was all worth it and more!”
Love is about treasuring the gift of life and praising God despite the hardship. That is Love and what is Life without Love? Love is what makes Life precious!
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 17, 2013.