It was exactly two years ago, this week, that Elizabeth Taylor was admitted to an LA hospital with symptoms of congestive heart failure. Ironically, the big screen star had given her heart away more than once and at least eight times with nuptials. The Hollywood actress was kept to be monitored, waiting for her condition to stabilize.
Elizabeth Taylor stole our hearts, we know she broke a few hearts and won over a few hearts, but how much do we know about this extraordinary muscle that seems to get so much attention every year on February 14th? That ticker, to which she referred, beats approximately 35 million times in a year. That's 100,000 beats per day and about 70 beats per minute. On average, a million barrels worth of blood is pumped through the heart in a lifetime which adds up to an average of 2.5 billion heartbeats.
The heart has been getting a spotlight since ancient times. Many believed the heart embodied a man's truth, strength and nobility. Ancient cultures believed the human soul made its home in the heart. Others thought it to be the source of emotion and intelligence. The heart could be associated with love because the ancient Greeks believed it was the target of Eros, known as Cupid to the Romans. Anyone shot in the heart by one of Cupid's arrows would fall hopelessly in love. Because the heart is so closely linked to love, it's red color is thought to be the most romantic.
How is your history on the origin of St. Valentine? In the late Roman Empire, Valentinus was a relatively common name, meaning strength . Words with the same root include valor and valiant. Historical and Christian records point to not one, but several martyrs named Valentine. One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa. All three were mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of February 14th.
Ancient Rome was a difficult place to be a Christian. Under the rule of Claudius II, Valentinus the Presbyter was thrown in jail for officiating at Christian weddings. Presbyter is synonymous with priest and elder , a person in leadership in the underground Christian community. Valentinus was interrogated by Emperor Claudius II, personally. Claudius was impressed by Valentinus and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism, in order to save his life. Valentinus boldly refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, according to history, Claudius II ordered that Valentinus be put to death. Valentinus was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on the 14th of February, on or about the year 270.
Because of his execution, he became a martyr for the early church. Prior to his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer. Legend also has it that St. Valentine left a farewell note for this jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and he signed it From Your Valentine.
Our heart sees a lot of action in a lifetime. Not only biological and physical action, but emotional action, too.
A miracle of the heart is that each individual cell, under a microscope, beats...on its own. Created by God to be the pump of our lifesource, the blood. February 14th, observed in honor of St. Valentine as a day for the exchange of valentines and other tokens of affection, but mainly it’s a day to share our love.
What is love? Most people believe that God is the source and essence of love, Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. - 1 John 4:8 NIV
According to the Bible, the greatest commandment is ...thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment ; in addition to the second, ...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, these are what Jesus Christ called the two greatest commandments.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. Jesus also taught Love your enemies. - Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27
The New Testament, which was written in Greek, only used two Greek words for love: agape- and philia. However, there are several Greek words for love.
* Agape-. In the New Testament, agape- is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love seen as creating goodness in the world, it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for others.
* Philia. Also used in the New Testament, philia is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as brotherly love .
* Eros (sexual love) is never used in the New Testament but is more prominent in the Old Testament.
* Storge (needy child-to-parent love) only appears in the compound word philostorgos (Rom 12:10).
Saint Paul glorifies agape- in the quote above from 1 Corinthians 13, and as the most important virtue of all: Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. - 1 Cor.13:8
Christians believe that because of God's agape love for humanity He sacrificed His son for them. John the Apostle wrote, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. - John 3:16, 17
In “Works of Love” (1847), Søren Kierkegaard, a philosopher, claimed that Christianity is unique because love is a requirement.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney said it like this, “All you need is love, all you need is love, all you need is love...love...love is all you need ” Love is the most basic, most important life giving element to our human experience. Without love we all wither and die. God’s love is essential.
So, whether you love someone or have loved someone or you still carry a torch for your first love. Or, you are in love for the first time or you’re heart has just been broken...fear not. In 2009, Elizabeth Taylor had heart surgery to repair a valve, and was quoted afterwards: “It’s like having a brand new ticker. ” Well, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY...God is love.