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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Echaves: Valentine’s Day

IT'S good to remember that people of all ages still celebrate Valentine’s Day, despite some dampers about its beginnings.

Some who insist that this special day had pagan beginnings, to the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalia which was meant to secure fertility and ward off evil.

It’s said that Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival into a Christian feast day in 496, and declared it as St. Valentine’s Day.

Scholars say, three early Christian saints were named Valentine. So, which of them was honored with this special day?

One was martyred on February 14. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, Italy, and the third died in Africa.

February 14 used to mean another holiday. But in 1969, the Catholic Church revised the liturgical calendar, and removed all feast days of saints with questionable historical origins. St. Valentine was among the casualties.

Most everyone is familiar with all kinds of love. Eros for love of the body, philia for love of the mind, ludus for playful love, pragma for longstanding love, agape for love of the soul, philautia for love of self, and storge for love of the child.

We’ve experienced most of these kinds at some time in our lives, though we know them by their anglicized names. Erotic, filial, romantic, platonic, fraternal, altruistic, saintly, narcissistic for dangerous self-love, and parental.

I shall always be grateful for my parents’ love for each other because it spilled over to us their children. Their love for child was manifested in the many times they forgave us for our youthful pranks, and for their acceptance and sacrifices.

I may have had childish envies for classmates with better dresses, with beautifully long tresses, and expensive dolls and doll houses.

But never for a moment did we fear that our parents would abandon us, or quarrel and go different ways. Always we felt secure, comfortable and safe.

Their love for each other was visible every day in the way they talked, shared stories daily about their work, laughed, and cracked jokes.

When my older brother became the youngest corps commander in the Visayas and Mindanao, my father would watch out every Friday for the neighborhood bootblack to prepare my brother’s boots to sparklingest finish for Saturday.

Daily, my father brought me to and fetched me from school from age 7 to 20. As a law professor, he requested teaching assignments that did not conflict with my schooling schedules.

When my father was assigned as a regional trial court judge in Agusan, my father could have joined him. But I was single then and they didn’t want me to be alone without family around. So, for the very first time in their married live, they had to live separately.

On this day of hearts I remember and thank them for their unconditional love through the years.

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