It will be St. Valentine’s Day next Sunday. It’s good to remind ourselves of the actual story of Valentine, which is about far more than sending someone a card. Valentine is not just a saint. He is also a martyr.
In the third century AD the Roman Emperor Claudius persecuted and hounded the Christians. Valentine kept his Christian faith a secret, but he used to take messages to some of his fellow Christians who were in prison for their faith – a brave thing to do. One day when he was doing this, he was challenged by a guard. This resulted in Valentine being condemned to death in Rome. Meanwhile he had fallen in love with his gaoler’s daughter. He left a secret love-note for her on his way to his execution.
Later on, his commemoration became mixed up with a Roman pagan festival called Lupercalia (a celebration of love) in mid-February. We are living in times of a new phenomenon – the rise of false information and violent bullying on line.
We need not worry about the precise origins of Valentine’s Day. What is important is the challenge this brave man gives us to support so many who feel mocked and isolated for standing up for what they believe is good and right. Valentine challenges us to pray for them and for courage for ourselves!
We thank you, Heavenly Father, for the example of your servant Valentine, and pray for all who are despised or mocked for their faith in person or on line.
Give them the courage to endure and give us the courage to defend them. Bless all who fall in love especially those who find it difficult to be open about their love or are subject to gossip and innuendo.
May we all be thankful for true friendship and marriage. We pray this in the knowledge of your love for us within the loving Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
+ Tony Foottit