Valentine was the name of a Roman Priest who lived in AD 200’s during Emperor Claudius’ reign. Claudius was an evil ruler who hated Christians and was against the spread of Christianity. One form of persecution he used against Christians was to refuse young couples the right to marry. The sanctity of marriage meant nothing to him. He was much more interested in building his army to maintain his empire. Claudius wanted a strong army and he thought unmarried soldiers would fight harder and longer than married ones.
Valentine, on the other hand, strongly believed in the right to marry and say vows in the site of God and did everything he could to help young couples in love become wed. He even secretly married couples under the cover of night.
Claudius eventually found out and Valentine was caught and imprisoned for this action.
Even in prison Valentine wouldn’t stop doing what was right and spreading God’s love.
One of the men assigned to judge and watch over him in prison was Asterius. Asterius did not believe in Valentine’s Christian religion but at the same time wanted to see if this God truly was all powerful. Asterius had a daughter who had been blind since birth. He vowed to believe in Valentine’s God, if this God could heal his daughter. Full of faith, Valentine prayed for the young girl and she immediately received sight for the first time! Asterius, overjoyed and humbled, fulfilled his vow and surrendered his life to the One True God forsaking all his Roman gods.
Even after this miraculous event, Asterius did not have the authority or power to release him from prison and Valentine was eventually martyred for his Christian beliefs and marrying couples. The story goes that Valentine’s last words before being executed were written to Asterius’ daughter. The contents of the letter are unknown but it is how he signed it that has become famous….. “from your Valentine.”
This Valentine’s day remember the real Saint Valentine and his willingness to lay down his life for not only his beliefs, but his love for others.