A Gift from St. Valentine

St. ValentineValentine’s Day is a very exciting time. You wait to count how many valentines you will get from your friends. You feel the more valentines you have, the more friends you have. In addition, there’s all the candy you might get. However, do you know why Valentine’s Day is celebrated? We celebrate Valentine’s Day because there was a St. Valentine, who was a martyr. Because of his gift, we have a Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine was well-loved priest that lived thousands of years ago in 269 A.D. The Roman people loved him and huge crowds gathered at the temple to hear him speak. While he was preaching and marrying people, the Emperor Claudius was trying to build an army to defend his empire. However, he couldn’t get married or single men to join the army because it meant leaving their families. That made the emperor angry, so he made a law that no one could get married.

Valentine didn’t like the new law and married people in secret. He didn’t want people to live in sin. When the authorities caught the priest, they arrested him and threw him in prison. While Valentine was in prison, the emperor became fond of him. The Claudius realized that the priest was a good speaker and very smart. He tried to convince Valentine to give up his faith and stop marrying people. The priest refused and was condemned to die.

While waiting for execution, Valentine became friendly with one of the jailers. He asked the priest to teach his daughter, Julia. Julia was blind. Valentine read her stories, taught her math, and told her about God. There was some talk that Valentine’s prayers cured Julia of her blindness.

On February 14, Emperor Claudius executed Valentine. The priest’s last words went to Julia in a note, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it “From your Valentine.” The phrase ‘from your valentine’ has become permanent. Starting this Valentine’s Day, say a prayer of thanks to St. Valentine for his gift – a special Day to celebrate our love for each other. Your prayer would be a gift to St. Valentine.