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“My father is the jailer here in this prison, and he allows me to assist him at times of great need,” she said with a twinkle in her unseeing eyes. “I have been bringing broth and blankets to the prisoners here since I was a small girl, as I cannot work elsewhere, because I am blind, you see,” she touched her face gently as if to emphasize the darkness of her eyes. “I am honored to meet you, Livia,” said Valentine, “and I am so grateful for your generosity to the prisoners.” “I know that you have been helping the young people among your parishioners,” she said, “and I know that you have married many young lovers in defiance of the Emperor.” As she spoke, Livia turned back towards the door. As she did so, Valentine said anxiously, “Please tell me that you will to visit me again!” Livia turned, and her eyes seemed to lock onto his intense gaze. Although her eyes were unseeing, it was as if her heart could sense his desperate need for her kindness. “Of course I will return,” she said sweetly, and then silently disappeared through the dark and heavy door. Behind her, he heard the thud of the closing door and the clink of the keys as she walked up the stone steps of the prison. The hours passed slowly for Valentine in the damp and brooding darkness of the cell. In those moments of loneliness and silence, Valentine began to understand God’s gift to him in this place. Although he feared he would never again be able to minister to his parishioners and bring comfort to them as they struggled to survive under brutal laws of Emperor Claudius, he knew that through his newfound friendship with Livia, God would somehow use him to bring the message of His love to searching hearts. Valentine eagerly anticipated Livia’s return with the evening bowl of the watery but warm soup, and he so longed to speak with her again. And if she could really bring him a blanket to cover himself with in the frigid night air, truly he knew that God was watching over him even here in this lonely prison cell.


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...