Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of St. Valentine's Day, I would like to post a letter I wrote from the perspective of someone who might have known the Christian priest, Valentine, in the early 3rd century Rome.
Please note: The names used (Alessandra Donati, Aldo III) are fictitious and were only for the purpose of discerning the writer.  However, Emperor Claudius II was indeed the emperor of Rome at the time of Valentine.  Places such as Via Flaminia, Apennine Mountains, and Ariminum (known as Rimini, located on the Adriatic Sea) are present-day locations.  The dates used in the letter are approximately correct according to various sites from which I found and researched the info regarding this letter.  Also, the "fact" that the writer of the letter received Christ as her personal Saviour may or may not be true.  There is no indication in any of the accounts on the subject of the legend of St. Valentine.  Again, this is a fictitious writing, please do not take it as total truth.  There are so many different accounts of St. Valentines (plural) that it is hard to discern which are true.
Please enjoy my account.

      Greetings, dear readers. My name is Alessandra Donati, daughter of Aldo Donati III, who is a warden of a Roman prison. I wish to inform you of the legend of St. Valentine, a devout Christian who was martyred because of his refusal to obey a petty law and renounce his faith.      The year is A.D. 269 when Rome was governed by Emperor Claudius II, a cruel pagan ruler. In his desire to build a great army, Claudius sent out a decree forbidding marriage, believing that married men did not make good soldiers. In that, he may have been right.      A righteous man by the name of Valentine refused the absurdness of this law and secretly performed numerous marriage ceremonies. I know this because a dear, dear friend of mine was herself married to the love of her life through the courageous acts of this priest. In order to protect her and her family, I will not produce any names.
      Unfortunately, Valentine was discovered and arrested. He was placed in the custody of my father and imprisoned for a time, during which the emperor himself, having heard of the character and strength of the Christian man, attempted to convert him to his own pagan ways and place him in a position of power. Valentine refused and further astonished the emperor by explaining the gospel of the Christian religion and trying, in his own way, to persuade the emperor to turn from paganism and embrace Christianity.
      It was all in vain.
      A witness to this conversation, I stood in a hidden corridor of the large prison and listened as an enraged Claudius ordered the execution of this righteous priest. My heart sank, for I had come to treasure the friendship given me during his brief stay in the prison. It was I who sent him letters of encouragement leading up to the dreadful appointment, and in return he replied with answers to my questions regarding religion and life. Always, his letters were signed, “from your Valentine.” Through his teachings, and seeing firsthand the firmness of his faith in his God, I came to know Christ. Ever grateful I shall be for my dear Valentine.
      It was rumored that he had fallen in love with me, and that his letters of hope were actually the letters of love. Perhaps it was true, for, in Christ, I had become a sister to him, and he a brother to me. Who knows what could have been? Had the Lord deemed differently, it was possible, and I would not object, that I could have become the wife of Valentine. But, of course, it was not to be.      The day came all too quickly. Valentine – friend, priest, Christian – was executed on February 14th, A.D. 269, because of his faith and rebellion to an unattested law. He was buried on the Via Flaminia, a Roman road leading from Rome over the Apennine Mountains to Ariminum on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Romantically, his legend still lives on, though it is usually mistaken for the Greek word eros, meaning “passionate love”, instead of agape, meaning “Christian love” or “love of God.”

Happy Valentine's Day.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of fictional "history."  I liked the idea of writing a historical account in story form, sometimes it is easier to understand, and usually more interesting. =D
Thanks for reading!

The Ultimate Valentine:
To: Whosoever
From: The Lord your God
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3:16

Happy Valentine's Day!
Joyfully His,

1 comment:

Faith Family said...

Very nice. You did such a good job!
Always Experiencing Him,
Jody (Mom)