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St. Valentine

Name: St. Valentine
Date: 14 February

Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who assisted the martyrs during the persecution underClaudius II. His great virtue and influence became known, and he was apprehended and broughtbefore the emperor’s tribunal. “Why, Valentine, do you want to be the friend of our enemies andreject our friendship?” The Christian priest replied, “My Lord, if you knew the gift of God, youwould be happy, and your empire with you; you would reject the cult of your idols and wouldadore the true God and His Son Jesus Christ.” One of the judges interrupted, asking the martyrwhat he thought of Jupiter and Mercury. “That they were miserable, and spent all their lives indebauchery and crime!” The judge, furious, cried, “He has blasphemed against the gods andagainst the empire!” The emperor nonetheless continued his questioning with curiosity, pleased tohave this opportunity to know what Christians thought. Valentine had the courage to exhort himto do penance for the blood of Christians which he had shed. “Believe in Jesus Christ, bebaptized and you will be saved, and already in this life you will insure your empire’s glory and thetriumph of your arms.” Claudius began to be convinced, and said to those in attendance, “Hearthe beautiful doctrine this man is teaching us!” But the prefect of Rome, dissatisfied, cried out,“See how this Christian is seducing our prince!” Claudius, weakening, abandoned the holy priestto another judge.

This man, named Asterius, had a little girl who had been blind for two years. Hearing of JesusChrist, the Light of the world, he asked Valentine if he could convey that light to his child. SaintValentine placed his hand on her eyes and prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ, true Light, illuminate thisblind child!” The child saw, and the Judge with all his family confessed Christ and receivedBaptism. The emperor, hearing of this, would have turned his gaze away from these conversions,but fear caused him to betray his sense of justice. With several other Christians Saint Valentinewas tortured and martyred in the year 268.

This illustrious martyr has always been held in great honor in Rome, where there still exists acatacomb named for him.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

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