St. Valentine

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St. Cyril and Methodius. St. Cyril and Methodius were brothers, and were born in Greece. They both became bishops, and brought the gospel to the Slavic nations. In fact, they invented the Slavic alphabet, so that they could spread the faith. They are the saints of the liturgical calendar today. But also listed in the Roman Martyrology for saints of today we find – St. Valentine! So who is St. Valentine?
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St. Valentine lived way back in the Roman Empire, when there were laws against being Catholic. Emperor Claudius had also issued an edict forbidding marriage. He needed to increase his army, and he thought that unmarried, single men made better soldiers.
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Now Valentine was a priest, and he therefore secretly met with young couples, and prepared them for the sacrament of marriage. Eventually he was arrested for this. Emperor Claudius demanded that he worship the pagan gods. Valentine answered: ‘If you but knew the grace of God, you would turn your mind from idols and adore the God who is in heaven.’ But the emperor’s heart was hardened, and he condemned him to death.
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Now while he was awaiting his death in jail, Valentine prayed that the Lord would enlighten even the people in that jail. His jail guard, Asterius, had a blind daughter, and the daughter felt sorry for Valentine, and often brought him food in prison. In gratitude, he one day prayed over the girl, and her sight was miraculously restored. This led the whole household of Asterius to convert to the faith.
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Now in prison, Valentine would look out of his cell window, through the cold, iron bars into the blue sky, and doves would sometimes land near the window.  He thought about the married couples he had prepared, and about his family. He wanted to send them a message. Well just within reach, grew a cluster of violets. Reaching between the bars, he took some of the leaves, which were shaped like a heart, and he poked holes in them with a thorn, forming words. “Remember your Valentine,” he would write. Attaching them to the doves, he sent them out. The next day, and the next, he sent more messages that simply said, “I love you. – your Valentine” And so this legend would seem to be the origin of sending Valentines.
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After performing many cures, and bringing so many to Christ, even in prison, he was beheaded for the Faith, on Feb. 14th, 273, in Rome.
St. Valentine: priest, and martyr for the Holy Catholic Faith.

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