Valentine, the tenderhearted priest in the ancient city of Rome, went forth from that place of prayer, determined to give God’s blessing to those young lovers who came to him to be married. In the brightness of the morning, Valentine sought out the young lovers he had turned away just the day before, and he told them, “You must wed in secret to protect yourselves from the certain punishment of the Emperor’s soldiers, but God has shown me that He has blessed your union.” And so God gave Valentine the courage to bless young lovers throughout the ancient city, in spite of the possible danger to himself. Valentine had discovered the gift of a life wholly devoted to God. Obedience in the face of opposition, and trust in the midst of the very darkness of evil. Not many weeks had passed when Valentine was apprehended one night while he was again on his knees in the presence of his Heavenly Father. “Get up, filthy priest!” the soldiers cursed, gripping Valentine’s arms as he prayed. “You are under arrest, by decree of Emperor Claudius, for your deception and dishonoring the law of Rome!” The soldiers dragged Valentine through the dilapidated streets of the city, past the hovels of his parishioners. Silently he stumbled along, trying to keep from falling into the black and filthy mud that filled the streets. Hiding in the shadows were many of his parishioners, including those young lovers that he had married in defiance of the heavy hand of the Roman laws. Who had betrayed him? How could God have allowed this to happen? After all, he was only living in obedience to the words of his Heavenly Father. Did he not do what he knew God was guiding him to do? Valentine was broken hearted, for he knew that there was no one else who would help his frightened parishioners. Again he silently cried out to God, in his brokenness and desperation. “Father, please protect them from the wrath of this evil Emperor!” Valentine pleaded again, calling on the mercy and grace of God. “Give me just one opportunity to reveal the power of Your love to the world!” Then his voice was muted by the clanging of the chains and the shudder of the prison door slamming shut. The darkness closed in around him as he fell to his knees on the icy stones of the cell. As the wintry morning sun climbed over the horizon of the following frozen morning, Valentine awoke to the clinking sound of keys at the heavy door of his prison cell. Stiff from shivering in the damp corner all night, Valentine moved slowly to rise in anticipation of a meager morning meal. 3
Published on Jan 30, 2012
Published on Jan 30, 2012
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...