I had decided a while ago that I would write about St. Valentine for the month of February because he, like many thousands today, was a martyr for Christ. I would not be the first to write such an article. In my research to solidify the facts concerning St. Valentine I discovered multiple articles, some from a clearly Christian perspective, and some from a secular perspective. While it is generally agreed that there are uncertainties regarding the facts of St. Valentine’s life, it is generally believed that the He was a Catholic priest who was martyred during the reign Emperor Claudius II, only 270 years or so after the Resurrection of Jesus. Emperor Claudius was in need of more soldiers and he believed that men’s attachment to their wives and children caused them to be less devoted to his military. Therefore, Claudius made marriage illegal. Believing that humanity could not be sustained without marriage and that sexual intercourse outside of marriage was not pleasing to God, Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies. The priest was then arrested and thrown into prison. While in prison, Valentine befriended the jailer and the jailer’s blind daughter. After a year in prison, Valentine was summoned to stand before Claudius for trial. The Emperor was so impressed with Valentine’s dignity that he attempted to convert him to worshipping the Roman gods to save him from execution. Valentine refused, however, and was sentenced to be beaten with clubs and then beheaded. Before his execution, Valentine prayed for the jailer’s daughter and her sight was restored to her. Both the jailer and his daughter were converted to Christianity and consequently also ended up being executed for their faith. On the night of his execution, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it “from your Valentine”.
This is the story in a summarized version and its’ relevance for our day is remarkable. With the definition of marriage being redefined by a secular world-view, the traditional and Biblical view of marriage is bordering on being illegal. Will we stand up for what is true love even if it costs us our lives? That would be the true spirit of Valentine’s Day!
In my research, I noted that in some of the more secular articles concerning St. Valentine, there is certainly at least a little skepticism regarding the heroics and the miracle of healing surrounding St. Valentine’s story. Personally, having read and heard the stories of many hundreds of believers from wildly different backgrounds and cultures around the world, there is nothing unbelievable whatsoever regarding this traditional story of St. Valentine. Thousands of Christians are imprisoned, tortured and executed for their faith around the world today. By the power of Jesus, many of these Christians still continue to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. Many of them see remarkable healings and share experiences that most of us would find simply unbelievable. Boldness, steadfast love, blind people regaining sight, and jailers being converted to Christianity have accompanied the preaching of the Gospel since the resurrection of Christ to the present day. We should not doubt the origins of Valentine’s day nor forget the saints in who are in prison for the sake of Christ and for the sake of love on this very day.
For Valentine’s Day this year, You can encourage your brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for their faith by writing them letters in prison! For more information, visit: www.prisoneralert.com