Love – The Lost Journals of St. Valentine (pt3)

by Craig on February 12, 2011

The bittersweet “Lost Journals” of St. Valentine continue to unfold here.  Love is at the heart of this Saint, and he is at the heart of the holiday.

Saint Valentine history, valentine history, and St. valentine story

If you missed part one it is here, and part two, is on Love’s twin blog, here. Please read those and you will know more about St. Valentine than I ever did.

 

October 14, 269 A.D.

It rains interminably now and the water floods the cell. I have not seen sunlight for months. I forget at times how to converse because all debate has ended now.

The discourse has turned to torture. But a broken finger, a hobbled knee, I consider a small price to pay for love.

The demands to give up my faith continue, but they are silent know, except for laughing mockery. Months ago the answer “no” was met with argument. But now it is met by the handle of a sword or a club.

Once, there was the cause of love itself to give me strength. But now, I have no way of knowing how many of the marriages I performed are still one. Or has Claudius discovered them, uprooted them, and caused me to be a harbinger of further suffering?

I know my God saves my tears. He is present and understands my sorrow. Without him there would be no reason to go on. But with Our Lord beside me there is beauty in this severity.

And then there is the daily visitor.

I know it is every day. The guards mark the time for me. The soldiers of Rome are very punctual in the rotation of  the watch.

And each day the firelight disappears.

The guards leave.

And the woman returns.

She brings balm for my wounds and bread and wine.

And she now speaks to me in Scripture. Once she said she knew of the One God, now she recites the words of his Great Apostle. She only knows these verses of Paul, but we speak them to each other day after day:

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient,

love is kind.

It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,

it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,

endures

all things.

Love never fails.

I ask how she knows this, has she read it? She answers that she cannot read. She has heard these words spoken and they remain especially in her heart.

She asks if I would like to see her face.

“Yes,” I reply “but there is no light.”

She takes my hands to her face, her nose, her cheeks, her eyes. I ask for their color. She tells me it doesn’t matter.

I have felt nothing in my memory so soft as her hair.

She asks, “Have you seen clearly, Valentine?”

My lips tremble as my heart skips. “Yes,” and I repeat in a whisper, “Yes”.

But then it is time for her to leave. No light to guide her steps. And yet never a misstep. And always soon after, the fires return, and the guards take their places.

But her scent remains,

and her face is remembered every hour with my hands.

There is so much more to this story – and I want to fit it all in by Valentines day. I have never posted on a Sunday before. But I will tomorrow. Please come back for part four of these “Lost Journals”.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymuss February 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

Now I am also wondering who this woman is and what happens to St. Valentine…and I am choosing NOT to go try to find out any other way than reading here because you write so beautifully and so well.

Reply

Craig February 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

I know – and is she even woman at all – or is she an angel? The best part of this story is ahead – and the last part – made me cry a little. It’s written – but is so unedited it’s ridiculous – writing is easy – it’s the editing that takes 80% of the work. God bless as always A.

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Debra February 12, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Writing on a Sunday Craig? You are inspired and rolling with the Spirit!

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Craig February 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Debra – a blessing to see you here. And someone decided that the halfway point in the second month of the year would be Valentine’s day. The inspiration didnt’s coincide with the calendar – I’ve had to catch up :)

God Bless

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Debbie February 15, 2011 at 2:40 am

Thank you for all the extra work this story required. It’s heart art . . .and touches mine! God bless you and continue to write through you!

Reply

Craig February 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

I smile as I write this Deb. Let me get this straight – you are reading this back to front. Interesting :) Thank you for reading. God Bless. And thank you for making me smile.

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