It’s Valentine’s Day. My husband and I have never really participated in the event. Still, every year, as I send a few thinking of you cards to commemorate the day, I admit to wondering how Bishop Valentinus would react to having his memory reduced to candy and flowers.
Many legends surround the Saint. Probably because there was more than one clergy person named Valentine during the first millennium. The name was rooted in the word valor, so as the world was beginning to encourage surnames, it’s no wonder more than a few chose such a noble name.
Regardless of the story you believe, or the Valentinus who lived it, all had one goal—to honor Jesus. One Bishop Valentine had been imprisoned, and when called before the judge, he prayed for a healing for judge’s blind daughter. When God granted the miracle, the judge became a Christian and released all of the Christians under his authority.
Every Clergyman Valentine had an arrest record. And each one was accused of evangelizing. Their only crimes were telling the nation about Jesus. One such Valentinus lost his head because he would not deny Jesus Christ. Another legend reports one of these men of God aiding Christians, saving them from persecution and performing Christian wedding ceremonies which led to his death.
Each of the Valentine priests and bishops understood Luke 21:12-19
12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you.
They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison,
and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 1
3 And so you will bear testimony to me.
14 But make up your mind not to worry
beforehand how you will defend yourselves.
15 For I will give you words and wisdom
that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters,
relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
17 Everyone will hate you because of me.
18 But not a hair of your head will perish.
19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
Christianity is not for the faint of heart.
We live in an era where the kind of persecution these Valentines faced is only seen in the Middle East; however, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t or won’t happen in more civilized parts of the world. Are we ready? Do we allow the Spirit to move in us in such a way that we can face betrayal, hatred and death? Do we believe that even if we should die for the faith, not a hair of our heads will perish?
Instead of candy and flowers, we should be celebrating with testimony and witnessing. If we truly want to honor these heroic men who dedicated their lives to Christ in the most complete way, we’ll share their stories and help someone grow closer to Jesus.
The enemy has done his job well. He allows the celebration of the saints to continue, but has put such a worldly spin on them that no one thinks of Jesus when they hear the word Valentine. I hope to change that a bit. I pray that every time someone says Happy Valentine’s Day to you this week, your reply will remind them that a man was martyred for Christ. Things like “I praise Jesus for such an heroic man” or “Did you know Valentine died because He loved Jesus so much” should do the trick.
Feel free to buy some roses or send a card! But when you do, praise God that such men lived in those tremendously arduous times so that you and I could know the love of Jesus and find salvation!
This was an e-mail that went out on Valentine’s Day 2023
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