Nigeria: A Valentine’s Day gift for everyone.
Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
Bishop Emmanuel Ade Badejo of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo has called on Nigerians to show more love towards each other and extend Valentine Day 2022 sentiments beyond mere amorous attraction.
A popular celebration in Africa’s cities
Valentine’s Day, sometimes also known as St. Valentine’s Day, is celebrated worldwide on 14 February. On this day, lovers express their romantic affection with greeting cards and gifts. Sometimes Valentine gifts include chocolate, red roses or a romantic dinner.
The true origin of the holiday is vague. The day was celebrated as one of romance in the 14th century. Many legends have been attributed to the start of the holiday. The day may have taken its name from a priest martyred about 270 AD by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Claudius ‘Gothicus’.
In recent years Valentine’s Day has become popular in many big cities of Africa. No doubt fuelled by commercial interests, the holiday has expanded to expressions of affection among relatives and friends.
Jesus has set the gold standard for love
“It is, yes, so, so legitimate to love and seek to be loved at Valentine. But there must be something greater and more rewarding than all that,” says Bishop Badejo as he wishes for love to prevail in a country reeling from killings by terrorists, widespread kidnappings and the spiralling cost of living.
He continues, “I fancy the American educator and orator, Booker T. Washington, who said: ‘If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else.’ However, the gold standard for that was set long ago by Jesus of Nazareth when he said: ‘In truth, I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me’ (Matt. 25: 40). There is no doubt that love strewn further afield will always return with even more abundant reward for the lover,” said Bishop Badejo.
Love is in the air
“Well, now, love is in the air. Valentine Day is here again. I affirm that the trying period that Nigeria is experiencing actually calls for true Valentine love. This type embraces Lenten virtues like self-denial, sacrifice and laying down of one’s life for others in need,” said Bishop Badejo.
He added, “Indeed, there is need now more than ever before to reflect on the lent in the Valentine celebration. There is Lent in VaLENTine, and I mean that literally. The origins of the Valentine celebration are found in selfless love anyway. Lent and true Valentine celebrations will always be intertwined because true love involves self-denial and sacrifice. ‘No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:13)’,” the Bishop of Oyo affirmed.
Many people need love in our country
For Bishop Badejo, “If indeed, Valentine is a time for sharing love and care, then all people of goodwill must feel compelled to extend Valentine Day 2022 sentiments beyond mere physical, amorous attraction. The sick, the poor, the marginalised, the captives, the bereaved, the persecuted, and the refugees all around us need a chunk of the tremendous quantum of love energy available all around at Valentine. We just must admit that far too many people need love in our country today and so make your Valentine goodies a surprise package for someone needing help out there,” Bishop Badejo encouraged.
He Concluded: “Happy Valentine celebration to the sick and needy, and that might just mean….all of us.”