Have you wondered where the famous Valentine’s Day signature line of “I will always be your Valentine” came from? Well, I have a letter that was possibly written by the sainted Valentine and I believe it will not only grant a better insight into this celebration but also emphasise what God expects us of even in the darkest of hours.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Imperial Prisons
c/o Emperor Claudius
My dearest Julia,
I’m sure by the time you will be reading this, I will be long gone to the Better Place, glad to have fulfilled the reason for my birth and existence: to represent my Lord and master, Jesus Christ.
Upon my arrival to this prison, Dearest One, as much as it sounds controversial, I realized I had been brought here to fulfill a major feat in my life. I came here, as you might know, because I decided to honour and stand by the reason for my existence.
It is a pity, dear Julia, that you might not know how beautiful you really are, but I do! I fell in love with you, not only because of this, but also because of the fact that you were ready, eager and apt to learn about God’s love and the provision He has made for this in Jesus Christ, His Son. I am eternally grateful to your father for the privilege he gave me to know you and engage with you as my student. I am sure he noticed a few things about me and my conduct in the prison with fellow inmates, hence his facilitating our acquaintance. I never stopped speaking boldly about my beliefs in the Messiah even though that was one of the reasons I was remanded in your father’s care, him being the chief jailer.
Julia, the Emperor decreed that marriage be outlawed for young men because he had been convinced that when young men marry and had families, they become bad soldiers. Truly, the scripture says that ‘a soldier does not concern himself with civilian affairs but is concerned with pleasing his commanding officer.’ Emperor Claudius in a bid to get full and utmost allegiance from young men took this verse out of context and enacted a law therefrom. He failed to consider that it is equally said in the Laws and Ordinances of Old that when a soldier marries, he should be given a yearlong leave to get to know his bride and get initiated into his role of being a fearless soldier who is brave enough to conquer the enemy and protect those around him; a husband who is convinced his wife eagerly expects his return and a father who knows his children require the person of a father to get a robust chance at life and living. I believed, and I still do, that marriage gives a young man and his lover the platform they so desire to be together in a bond and covenant sealed by God. And so, I defied the Emperor and celebrated marriages for willing young lovers. I had beforehand helped Christians escape punishments meted by the Emperor and this had put me in his bad books. Emperor Claudius discovered the secret weddings. And coupled with the bad blood between us as already stated, he sentenced me to death.
I found myself in this prison to await death and continued doing what I was called to do and which I do best: representing God. And that was what made your father ask me to be your teacher. The sweetest part of this experience was that while we interacted, I fell in love with you.
My dearest one; mine is a life dipped in love and God brought you along to bring this experience to a thorough drench. Our cup is filled and now overflows; streaming into a steady and living river. As I write this, I hear the sounds of the executioners as they make their way to my cell. My heart has been captured by my supreme Lover; Jesus Christ of whom I always speak; and my love for him has led me to you. I will always love Him, not because I will yet meet you and many beautiful people as I am sure I will, but because I have discovered His undying love.
As the doors of my cell open, I write this: I eagerly await some more time with you at our Lover’s feet. Keep the fire burning and be driven by the love He has shown us.
I will always be,