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Valentine, the priest after whom Valentine’s Day is named, was martyred for his belief in the institution of marriage.
The emperor of Rome, Claudius, passed a law banning marriages. His reason was simple: men would not volunteer to join the Roman army with wives and fiancées to leave behind. Valentine knew that God instituted the family and His will included marriages. So, he kept on performing marriage ceremonies – but in secret. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.
One night, he did indeed hear footsteps. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught. He was thrown into prison and sentenced to death.
Valentine remained cheerful while he was in prison and many people came to the prison to visit him. He even continued to perform marriage ceremonies while he was in prison. He converted the jailer to Christianity. The jailer’s daughter would often visit Valentine in his cell and they sat and talked for hours. She believed he did the right thing ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies.
On the day Valentine was to die he left this girl a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love from your Valentine”. That note, written on the day Valentine died – February 14th, 269 AD – started the custom of exchanging love notes on St Valentine’s Day.
Valentine was truly a man of courage. The theologian Karl Barth wrote: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Let’s be as courageous as Valentine himself and bring about change to a world that’s hurting. Simply by serving as channels of God’s healing love we can inspire more change in people than we might ever imagine
“For God so loVed the world,
……That He gAve
…….Believeth In Him
………Should Not perish,
.……But have Everlasting life.”