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Feb 14, 2010

St. Valentine: Happy Valentine to all My Readers

Today, we remember the holy saint St. Valentine, patron of love, lovers, and friendship.

St. Valentine is believed to have been a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. He was well loved by the Romans who flocked to the temple where he was assigned to listen to his words.

During that time, Emperor Claudius was defending his empire against its enemies. Year after year the battle continued but men who wanted to be soldiers were diminishing. Married men did not want to leave their families and single men did not wish to leave their loved ones. So to resolve the problem in the recruitment of men who will go into the battlefields, Emperor Claudius passed a new law which prohibits any more marriages Valentine did not support the new law and continued performing marriage ceremonies secretly. He believed that people needed to get married so that they would not be tempted to sin by living together without the sacrament of matrimony. One night, he was caught, arrested and thrown into prison.

The Emperor took a liking to the prisoner. He thought that the young man was well spoken and wise. He was encouraged to renounce his faith and become a loyal Roman but Valentine refused to give up his faith and beliefs which resulted in him being condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs, and afterwards, beheaded, which took place on February 14, about the year 270.
In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14 to honor St. Valentine.
Many miracles have been heard about St. Valentine but the most inspiring is the story that happened before his persecution.

The story says that Asterious, Valentine’s Jailer, seeing that the prisoner was a man of learning brought his daughter Julia to Valentine for lessons. Valentine read her stories, taught her arithmetic and told her about God. It was believed that through the prayers of Valentine, Julia’s sight was restored.

On the event of his death, Valentine wrote a last note to Julia to thank her for her friendship and urged her to stay close to God. The note was signed, “From your Valentine.” And some say that this was the start of the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of St. Valentine, let us be inspired by the saint’s abiding love and friendship. May our hearts be full of love and affection today and every moment of our lives.

Happy Valentine to YOU!!