Send Your Blessings on St. Valentine's Day
Acting Chief, Seicho-No-Ie Hawaii Missionary Area
February 14th is Valentine's Day. There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day, but I think the following is one of the well-known stories.
Emperor Claudius II of Rome was a very cruel man who was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. He was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270.
Nowadays, in the western world, many flowers, cakes, and cards are sent to each other on February 14th. Although they have a little different custom in Asia, both in the East and West, it is a day that "love" is manifested in some way.
The reason we want to manifest "love" in various ways is that "love" truly exists within ourselves. If we don't have "love," we should not have a desire to present it. Because we have "love" within and have a strong desire to express it, we try to find an opportunity and do that.
My recommendation to you for Valentine's Day is to send your loving thoughts. The founder of Seicho-No-Ie, Masaharu Taniguchi, taught that "our souls grow by absorbing loving thoughts sent by others, our own bright thoughts, and words of Truth." (Bosatsuwa Naniwo Nasubekika, or What Holy Missioners Should Do, p. 101) Please write down the names of your important persons - family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and SNI members - on paper and pray for and bless them for a year. Your loving thoughts not only reach and bless them but also bless the whole universe, and come back to you. Please read the following article written by our founder, Masaharu Taniguchi and reaffirm the greatness of blessing and keep practicing.
A person decided to bless five or more people a day by simply praying quietly for a minute or two in the following way, "God, please give this person true happiness. He is protected by Your love and is truly happy." This is giving love in a way that no one knows about or is aware of, and, since it is done in such an unassuming way, it is even more significant and precious. If everyone were to bless those around them as well as those in other countries of the world in this way, there would no longer be recurring wars or conflicts. It is in small acts such as this that we can see selfless, giving love that asks for nothing in return. This love is truly great in the eyes of God. (Truth of Life, October 2007, p.11)