Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine Greetings!

At the touch of Love every one becomes a poet.
- Plato

Dear Friends:

Valentine’s Day, love and the heart converge today! “Love is the enchanted dawn of every heart”, says Lamartine. Speaking of hearts, did you know that the average heart beats more than 100,000 times a day? In the next 24 hours, yours will pump nearly 2,000 gallons of blood, two-and-a-half ounces at a time. By the time you're 70, it will have beaten 2.5 billion times and pumped 50 million gallons, in a feat of unrelenting endurance that puts other muscles to shame.

As a recovering heart attack victim, I am intimately aware that your heart's incessant beating tells the world that you're alive. That's one reason many ancient Greek physicians thought your heart was the seat of your soul - the vital, central, innermost part of you.

Of course, the heart is still the symbolic seat of love. As one aficionado puts it, “Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.” Yes the heart! It's the place where we find courage ("take heart"), show compassion ("have a heart"), and discover hopes and dreams ("our heart's desires"). It's also the truth that defines who we are deep down (in our "heart of hearts").

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged from the heart, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday?

The history of Valentine's Day - and its patron saint - is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of love and romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it’s believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl - who may have been his jailor's daughter - who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it’s alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression from the heart that’s still in use today.

Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints among the people of England and France. And in any community, ancient or modern, it's always the people who stir the blood and inspire movement. For me, those people are you, my faithful readers. You're people after my own blog-loving heart.

So I wish you a heartfelt, loving and Happy Valentine's Day, and I thank you for visiting my site.

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