Why Do We Celebrate Saint Valentine's Day
The Ancient Journal of Saint Valentine
Most recently I was lucky enough to gain access to the one and only journal written by Saint Valentine (of Valentine's Day fame) regarding the events surrounding February 14Th, 269 AD. The journal had been buried in the ruins of Saint Valentine's final residence, the cold, damp, and dark stone prison of Roman Emperor Claudius. Among the decade prison ruble, a corner of the journal peeked-up from under a craggy stone-bit, revealing itself to the finder. Carefully releasing the Valentines day journal from its centuries old holding place, it became clear that the writing within would reveal the facts surrounding Saint Valentines true self and the events leading up to his execution. As the finder read the tail, cautiously turning the delicate ancient pages, the story of Valentine's Day became very real as told by saint Valentine himself. The validity of the journal is only as real as you allow it to be within your mind; but the facts surrounding the Valentine's Day saints' story, they are as real as real can be.
Saint Valentine Begins His Journal
The morning began with a refreshing goblet of the best wine from our monks cellars. The other priest and I were giving thanks for the new day and praying that the emperor would withdraw his newly created law which cancelled all marriages and engagements. It seemed that emperor Claudius desired to grow his army to a much larger number than was currently at hand. His hope for a clamoring of volunteers was crushed as few, if any answered his request.
The Royal House-boy Shares His Knowledge
I was told by a royal house-boy during confession, that Claudius believed no volunteers came because they feared leaving their lovers, wives and families would break the hearts of those they cared for so deeply. Thus, in the emperors haste for military growth, he gained support in the senate to cancel all marriages and weddings and even engagements— making it all but illegal to fall in love outwardly. I, Valentine, am a man of God and I know my God to be a loving being. Thus, I derived a stern allegiance to continue to honor the love of couples who seek out the right to marry, regardless of the newly placed law. Unfortunately, I was unaware that this allegiance to love, would soon prove to be the birth of my death. For this reason I, Valentine, am writing my final days journal in the hope than a law created my a man, will not damage the love created by God.
A Valentine for the Sake of Love
Appius, known to be a faithful young follower of emperor Claudius had been waiting to speak with one of the priest, or so I thought. Appius could be no more obvious than he was as he watched me, Valentine, speaking to a young couple who were desperately in love, seeking to be joined in marriage. I caught sight of the emperors spy slither behind a stone column within earshot of my counseling session, I was unaware of his true task. I imagined his curiosity to be simply of that which seeks to hear of the wonders of love shared by two. I paid no real mind to his intrusion as my heart of hearts was full-up with the love between Quintus and Decima. My counsel was short as their love was measurable and purely of God.
Quintus and Decima Find A Secret Place
I later set out to the secret location where Quintus and Decima were to join me and be married on this day. I no longer had much thought as to what Appius would have to report to the emperor as I all but skipped to the secret spot that was predesignated for the event. I drew nearer to the beautiful shaded tree and green soft grass where the two lovers waited. Upon my approach I could see the excitement and love holding them in close to one another, my priestly heart beat with joy at such true love.
The Capture Of St. Valentine
Clean white linens gracefully waved in the breeze as it cascaded over Quintus and Decima; the sight was angelic and honest. We bowed our heads in prayer to thank God for granting this love upon these two and for the hope that such a loveless law as Claudius had instituted would be squashed and tossed away as litter. I began to conduct the ceremony of marriage when from all sides a rattling rose-up and Claudius's soldiers surrounded our place from all sides. At that moment, I realized Appius' curiosity had been deliberate and conniving, as well as accurate in its timing. A sudden pain split my skull and the day grew dark and very quiet...
A Poem: Valentine War: By Dr. Rafey Habib
VALENTINE'S DAY STORY
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Unlikely Valentine Love
I felt the cold earth against my face as I awoke in the darkened damp cell. My priestly clothes now tattered, dirty and smudged with my own blood. I could hear droplets of water echoing throughout the room, I was alone and cold and unsure of my remaining days.
A loud "clank" followed by an even louder long scraping- sound took over my senses. A stream of light passed by me, then went away along the same path from which it had arrived. Standing before me now a young woman, looking down at me with tilted head and curious eyes. She spoke to me for a few moments before I could understand her delicate words. The clouds in my mind began to waft away and the young woman's voice was now clear— I could understand as she told me her name, Tiberia.
Tiberia continued to speak to me as she helped me to sit upright and balance under my own power. She told me her father, Vibius, was the prison master and had granted her permission to sit with me. She continued to speak, and stretched out her arm motioning a slow stroke from one side of her body to the other, in an effort to make me understand that many flowers and notes were scattered on the prison cell floor.
A Bee Loves a Flower
I had been unaware for three days now of anything. I felt the pounding of a deep cut and blood loss from a soldiers weapon which landed on my brow; known to me now to be the cause of my lengthy slumber. My thoughts slowly returned and I recalled my capture by Claudius's soldiers and the spy Appius who stood near by the wedding tree where we were accosted. He gladly pointed and told of his good eavesdropping skills. Appius, a loathing thing, continued to brag at the sizable reward given by the emperor upon disclosing the location to where I would be conducting such an unlawful marriage. I could now recalled the fate of Quintus and Decima—my heart wept, yet I was certain that in death they had been joined forever in love.
Notes Of Love Were Many
Vision clearer now, I could witness the flowers and notes that surrounded me here. Tiberia brought a few to me, placing them in my now bruised fingers. Within the words I could see what these many people and couples had written. They conveyed their approval for my allegiance to love on that fateful day. They were as joyous in love as were Quintus and Decima. The growing crowd believed in my allegiance and strength to continue marring couples who had been banded from wedding one another. They cheered outside my window chanting, "Valentine, Valentine". I fell back to rest with this song of praise dancing in my ears, "Valentine, Valentine"...
Love From Your Valentine
Many days passed, each filled by notes, flowers and the visits by Tiberia—for whom I had grown very fond. We would speak of love and its grace and of all of the good love given to man kind. She offered me reassurance that I would find great rewards for my belief in love for all couples, and even greater rewards for my defiance of emperor Claudius's loveless law. Tiberia went on day after day to tell me that no matter what power an emperor may achieve, it will never be enough to conquer love.
The End Draws Near For St. Valentine
Soon the 14Th day of the month of February 269 AD will be upon me. I will then be escorted from my cell to be subject for the executioners duty. I plan to pass a note to my dear Tiberia thanking her for her friendship and love.
What You Think Really Does Matter!
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Within the note I will place the tattered remains of a rose from which a passer by had tossed through my small cell window the day before. I have signed the note, "Love from your Valentine". I will soon feel the life separate from my body and my spirit lift free of the remains of my pain riddled carcass. When I do lift away, I will take with me the joy of love and leave behind the love I have shared. With a fond heart and willing spirit, my prayer remains that all who love, shall be allowed to wed, regardless of the powers leaders seek to attain. Love is grand and last eternal, while the grasp of a man to attain power is simply a fleeting character flaw.
Valentine's Day Today
Now that the story of Valentine has been shared as written in the Priest's own hand, we are bound to feel a greater connection for the day. The sharing of gifts and cards on the 14Th day of February has for centuries been in high respect for the joy and advocacy of love. When you pass a note to your lover this Valentine's Day, remember the love of Quintus and Decima, the friendship of Tiberia, and most of all the final words scribed by Saint Valentine to his friend Tiberia on his way to the executioner— "Love From Your Valentine".
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