St. Valentine:

Published on February 19, 2019

A story goes that in the third century, the Roman Empire was ruled by
Emperor Claudius, nicknamed Claudius the Cruel because of his tendency for getting into
wars. He was getting into so many wars that he was having a difficult time recruiting enough
soldiers. Claudius believed that recruitment for the army was down because Roman men
did not want to leave their loves or families behind, so he cancelled all marriages and
engagements in Rome. Thousands of couples saw their hopes of matrimony dashed by the
single act of a tyrant. But a simple Christian priest named Valentine did come forward and
stood up for love. He began to secretly marry soldiers before they went off to war, despite
the emperor’s orders. In 269 A.D., Emperor Claudius found out about the secret
ceremonies. He had Valentine thrown into prison and had him put to death. St. Valentine
gave his life so that young couples could be bonded together in holy matrimony. The story
of Valentine’s self-sacrificing commitment to love was legendary in Rome. Eventually, he
was granted sainthood and the Catholic Church decided to create a feast in his honour.
They picked February 14 as the day of celebration because of the ancient belief that birds
(particularly lovebirds, but also owls and doves) began to mate on that very day. Around
Valentine’s Day, what are you doing to keep the love in your marriage burning?