February 14, 2016

St. Valentine's Day

 Happy Feast of St. Valentine, bishop & martyr
From The Golden Legend
     Valentine comes from valorem tenens, one who perseveres in holiness, or from valens tiro, a strong warrior, one who fights for Christ. A warrior is strong only when he remains unconquered, bravely attacks, defends himself valiantly, and carries off victory. And so Valentine was never conquered, for he never fled martyrdom; he attacked the idols in exterminating them; he defended the faith in that he strengthened it; he carried off victory in that he suffered.
     Valentine was a priest whose holiness was known to all. The Emperor Claudius summoned him and said to him: “Valentine, why dost thou not earn our good will by adoring our gods and putting away thy vain superstitions?”
     Valentine answered: “Didst thou but know the grace of God, thou wouldst not say these things; and thou thyself wouldst turn away from these idols, and wouldst adore the God of Heaven!”
     The one of the emperor’s retainers said to Valentine: “Dost thou dare to disparage the sanctity of our gods?”
     And Valentine replied: “Your gods are but the wretched fabrications of men, and are sodden with uncleanness!”
     Claudius then said: “If thy Christ is the true God, tell me the truth!”
     And Valentine made answer: “The truth is this: that Christ is the only God, and that if thou believest in Him thy soul shall be saved, thy power increased, thine enemies put to rout!”
     Claudius, turning to those around him said: “Romans, do you hear how well and wisely this man speaks?”
     But the prefect protested: “The emperor is being deluded! Must we therefore renounce what we have believed since we were children?”
     These words hardened the heart of Claudius and he committed Valentine to a prince of his court, to be guarded as a prisoner in his house. When he had come into the prince’s house, Valentine cried out: “Lord Jesus, Thou Who art the one and only Light, shed Thy light upon this house, that those who dwell herein may know Thee for the true God!”
     Whereupon the prince said to him: “Since thou proclaimest that thy Christ is Light, ask Him to restore sight to my daughter who is blind! And if He does this, I shall do all that thou biddest.”
     Valentine prayed; from that hour the blind girl saw, and the whole household was 
     But the emperor was not deterred, and ordered him beheaded. His martyrdom took place in the year of the Lord 280 A.D.

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