The earliest accounts about the origins of Valentine’s Day point to a single priest, who was arrested and imprisoned. After being caught helping Christians, who were being prosecuted by emperor Claudius 11, also known as Claudius Gothicus in Rome. Helping Christians in those days was a crime.
The name of the priest was Valentinus or Valentine. According to the account in the Nuremberg Chronicle dated 1493. Claudius took a liking to the prisoner until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor. The priest was then condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned. When that didn’t kill him, he was beheaded outside the FlaminianÂ Gate, on February fourteenth.
The feast of Saint Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius 1, who included Valentine among those “whose names are justly reverencedÂ among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implied nothing was known, even then, about the lives of many of these martyrs.
One legend about Valentine says that he restored sight and hearing to the disabled daughter of the jailer. Whom he had befriended, and led to Christ before he was beheaded.
It is also said that he left a note on the day of his death, signed, “From your Valentine.”
Whether these two accounts are true or, as some say, merely sentimental legend it is unimportant. What matters is that we make the most of this special day of the year to advance the Great Commission. While the day has become associated with romantic love, it was born from agape love. Agape, meaning the love of Christ. Which transforms ordinary people into giants for the cause of Christ. (source:The Pocket Testament League-with modifications this writer)
In a way they become the stuff of the Studs Terkel, who said at age 95. “Ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things. That’s what life is all about. They count most!” Studs Terkle was a prize winning author and radio personality. Who died at the age of 96, on 16 May 2008.
And then, we have the magnificence of the thoughts of Helen Keller, 1880-1968, who became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. And said, “The world is not only moved by the mighty pushes of the heroes, but by the separate pushes by honest people.”
So enjoy the day, and be sure to extend your love in ways unique and meaningful to you. But remember its origins and the fallen heroes, who made the ultimate sacrifice of love for others. Which includes, Christ our Redeemer, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of love.