VALENTINE SPECIAL: The story behind the celebration of Saint Valentine’s day
The origin of the day for the expressions of love really isn’t romantic at all, at least not in the traditional sense. According to father Frank O’Gara of the White Friar Street Church in Dublin Ireland, the real story of the man behind the holiday Saint Valentine was not a romantic one but of martyrdom.
Valentine was a Roman priest during the time of Emperor Claudius who persecuted the church. He also promulgated an edict which prohibited the marriage of young people, on the basis on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers rather fought better than married soldiers did, because Maori soldiers might be afraid of what would happen to their wives or families if they die. We should bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived. Polygamy was much more popular than the marriage of one woman and one man living together. Some of them were attracted to the Christian faithFriarand the church taught that marriage is sacred and between one man and one woman.
This immediately presented a problem to the church on what to do about this and so the idea of encouraging them to marry within the church was what Valentine was about and he secretly married them because of the edict.
Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against the edict of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison. One of the judges who were to judge him according to the Roman law at the time was a man called Asturias whose daughter was blind. It was claimed that Valentine prayed for the young girl and she became healed. This miraculous healing affected Asterius and he became Christian.
As a result, in the year 269 A.D., Valentine was arrested and sentenced and finally executed all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asturias’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it from your Valentine.
A lesson of Valentine’s martyrdom is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life for what you believe and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do that even to the point of death.
Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public. In fact, the White-friars Street Church in Dublin is one of three churches that claims to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honour the courage and memory of this Christian Saint became commonly known as the patron saint of lovers.
On the 14th February of every year, we celebrate St Valentine. Before you enter into a Christian marriage, you want some sense of God in your life. We know particularly that many people are meeting God through His Son Jesus Christ.