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As the humble priest wandered wearily through the dingy, dreary streets of Rome, his heart cried out to God. “Oh, Heavenly Father, please guide me through this darkness in my soul!” The sound of his footsteps echoed in the chilly, rainy night in the ancient city where the Church ruled the lives of the citizens. “What am I to do, my Father? The Emperor has forbidden all of the young men of the Empire to marry for fear that they will no longer be courageous warriors. And yet, I see the despair on their faces and I feel the pain in their broken hearts when they come to me and ask me to marry them.” Valentine, the local priest in this downtrodden corner of the glorious city of Rome, was torn between his desire to bless his parishioners and the decree of Emperor Claudius. Although Valentine understood the requirement that the followers of Christ should be good Roman citizens, he also knew in his heart that it is better to obey God rather than men. What should he do? Valentine fell to his knees on the frigid dirt floor of his cell in the heart of the monastery, pleading with God to give him wisdom. All that long dark, cold night the humble priest sought God’s guidance, knowing that if he should choose to disobey the cruel commands of the Emperor, that he would be putting his very life into jeopardy. And yet, he also knew deep in his heart, that he could never disobey God. Valentine knew that marriage was honorable and pleasing to God, and that the people would turn to him for guidance in this matter. How to honor God and minister to his parishioners without putting his life in danger? As the humble priest bowed before his Heavenly Father, there in the darkness and cold of a bitter winter night in the city of Rome, Valentine’s heart grew in confidence, strength, and courage. His continued prayers to his loving and gracious God became bold in his determination to hold on, as Jacob had when he wrestled with God at Peniel, and he cried out, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And in that place, the priest Valentine was determined to know God’s mind concerning his ministry to his people or his obedience to Emperor Claudius. In that moment of expectation, God gave Valentine a glimpse of His grace and mercy, and Valentine knew what he must do.


Valentine and Livia  
Valentine and Livia  

There is conflicting history of the origin of Valentine's Day, but the common thread among them all is that it was begun by a martyred patro...