Valentine was a Catholic Priest , who lived in Rome, in the 3rd century.
At that time, Rome was under the rule of Claudius II (a Cruel emperor). During his time, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody wars. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military . Claudius knew that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families. To get rid of this problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome.
Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young couples in secret, so that, the husbands are exempted from joining army and from going for war. Besides, he was helping the persecuted Christians, and was also converting people to Christianity.
When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the prefect of Rome , who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.
During the last weeks of Fr. Valentines’ life, a remarkable thing happened.
Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentine for lessons. She had been blind since birth.
Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind.
Valentine read stories of Rome’s history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He also told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.
He made her to believe that “if we really believe in Him, God does really hear our prayers. “God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him. Getting confidence from Fr. Valentine, blind Julia began to pray, asking God that she gets eye sight.
One day, They sat quietly together, each praying. Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, “Valentine, I can see! I can see!” “Praise be to God!” Valentine exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.
On the eve of his death, Valentine wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, “From your Valentine.”
His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D. Hearing the beheading and death of Fr. Valentine, those couples whose marriages were blessed by Fr. Valentine, and those who received helps and supports from him, began to pray to him. Those who were going through difficult situations with regard to the blessing of their marriages began to pray to Fr. Valentine. They began visiting his burial place for prayer, and offered flowers , and slowly it became a family day for those people / families.
Church acknowledged his great and heroic service to the people, and the devotion of the people. Valentine was declared a saint in 496 AD, by Pope Gelasius. February 14 began to be known and celebrated as St Valentine’s Day.
On each February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world.”
St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, true and serious love and lovers (who are serious about getting married and form family life), plague, travellers, and young people.
Let us pray to this saint for our young people , that they select spouse according to the heart of jesus.
St. Valentine , pray for us. Amen.
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