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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Valentine's Day

As friends and lovers all over the place prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day, we contemplation it would be nice to take a look back at the origins of this moment very special Holiday. It may surprise you to learn that there's greater amount of to the story than Cupid shooting arrows to the unsuspecting hearts of potential suitors.

Late in the third century, every where in 270 A.D., the Roman Empire was in a downward spiral that it never relatively recovered from. There were consistently increasing threats from outside invaders, not to mention the lack of qualified men to work on the behalf of in the government and the military. The reigning emperor, Claudius II, decided this single men were even greater suited than married men to serve in these capacities so he decided to ban marriage.

A local Christian bishop, Valentine, secretly continued to offer the sacrament of marriage to couples who good to do so. When Claudius learned of this he had Valentine arrested and ordered him to convert to worshipping the pagan Roman gods.

Instead of converting, Valentine, displaying great dignity and valor, turned the tables on Claudius and attempted to transmute him to Christianity even even though the consequence could be his death. Claudius was unpersuaded and on the 24th of February he had Valentine executed.

While in prison, tradition has it so the jailer in charge asked Bishop Valentine to wish for his blind daughter to be healed. Through Valentine's prayers the daughter's sight was miraculously restored. Afterward Valentine penned a note to the daughter and signed it "from your Valentine."

That's the traditional story of the arising of how we now celebrate as St. Valentine's Day. As usual, truth is stranger than fiction.

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