It all started with a kind-hearted, humble priest named Valentine. During his time, there was an emperor in Rome named Claudius who persecuted/tortured Christians.
He made a law that prohibited marriages and engagements in Rome. This is because he had difficulty getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families. He also reasoned that single men made better soldiers and fought better than those with wives, saying that if they are married, they would be afraid of what might happen to their wives and family if they died in battle. So, he banned marriage for young men.
Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against the command of Emperor Claudius and for protecting Christians.
While in prison, Valentine met Asterius, who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time. Asterius had a daughter named Julia who was blind. Valentine prayed and healed the young girl. This had an astonishing effect on Asterius, who became a Christian as a result.
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three-part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally beheaded, all because of his stand for Christian marriage.
Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote Julia a letter signed “From your Valentine,” this inspired today’s romantic expression- ‘your valentine’. It was said that the content of his letter was an advice to Julia that she should be very close to God.Valentine story
Saint Valentine’s martyrdom (death) has not gone unnoticed by the general public; although many people celebrate valentine without any understanding of what it means and what it stands for. We find people, especially the young ones celebrating it the wrong way- they see it as a time to get a man/woman/boy/girl to celebrate with by doing all kinds of ungodly things- if Saint Valentine was alive, I believe he will not be happy, the way people have misunderstood his sacrifice for humanity to sustain reproduction through marriage. Most people are not learning the lesson of self-sacrifice in fulfilment of one’s destiny which valentine stands for.
The celebration of Saint Valentine did not have any romantic connotations until sometimes later in the 14th century, when people started to make it a romantic celebration. Earlier beliefs were focused on sacrifice rather than romantic love.
- The idea of encouraging young lovers to marry within the Christian church was what Saint Valentine stood for, he didn’t encourage sexual immorality at all. Rather, his action was to discourage sex outside marriage and all kinds of immorality which botht married and single have now turned valentine to mean.
- He performed marriages for those ready for marriage, knowing that sex outside of marriage is a sin against one’s body and against God.
- Valentine was a saint and not a sinner- why then do people make him seem like an encourager of sin by celebrating him in sin.
- If you’re not married then desist from sex. If married, be faithful to your husband/wife. This is what Valentine stands for-
- Valentine is about doing God’s will. God Himself instituted marriage, not premarital sex and other sexual activities outside marriage. Valentine upholds God’s wish for people who are willing, to marry and have children.
- Saint Valentine healed Julia, the blind girl and her Father became a Christian- Why aren’t people believing God for such power to do good, and God being glorified through them, making many to come to believe in Jesus?
- Saint Valentine gave his life so that young couples could be bonded together in holy matrimony. They may have killed the man, but not his spirit. Valentine teaches sacrifice for the right thing, even unto death. Willing to do the right thing at all times. Why are we not learning this lesson?
Centuries after his death, the story of Valentine’s self-sacrifice and commitment was legendary in Rome. You too should live a life committed to a good course and the world will remember you for good.
Whenever valentine is celebrated, ask yourself- what good thing have I accomplished for my generation that I will be remembered for after my death? You are not too small to begin to do great exploits for God, exploits that will change your generation for good. Start from where you are, it may start little but it will grow with time. Peace!!!
Eventually, he was granted sainthood and the Catholic Church decided to create a feast in his honour. They picked February 14 as the day of celebration.
References: Wikipedia, CBN.com, HISTORY.com, Mark Merrill.