The story continues of Valentine – Bishop of Interamna. It now begins rushing toward a star crossed end.
November 14, 269 A.D.
The days are cold now. I repeat everyday the only Scripture I can remember – all else is a blur. The only food I get are the morsels brought to me by my only visitor. All she can sneak past the guards now are crumbs and a few sips.
But Love is what remains for me.
Three words gets shouted through the door at almost regualr intervals.
“Deny your god.”
I respond now by reflex, “God is Love.”
With little food and the water that drips from the walls I am sustained by his Word, by his love, and by one visitor.
Each day the lights flee, she enters. Her voice as nourishing as the morsels she brings. Tonight we pray together. Tonight I learn her name.
It is Asteria
She is daughter of the jailer. She needs no light, she cannot read, darkness is no stranger to her for one reason.
She cannot see.
She will never marry because of this. No man will have her she says.
We join hands as we pray, although her touch must be gentle. The guards think that the denial of Our lord lies lies in my fingers. So they beat them relentlessly to bring out the answer they want.
She tells me that she has decided to follow Our Lord. That this is the last brick in her tomb. She is now both blind – and Christian. But she knows that he is Lord, and she thanks me.
I loosen the grip of our hands and allow them to travel to her face – the face I know well. My fingers reach her cheek, then the eyes that cannot see, and I pray. For man this is impossible but for God all things are possible.
Soon she raises up and walks through the darkness to the door and leaves – and the guards return to their places. The God who is love will prevail. I sense he will have to – for I fear I will break soon.
The floor is now ice.
They say the name Valentine will die soon and no one will remember. I fear they are only now, for the first time, speaking truth.
Now it seems they are intent upon speeding up the process whereby I will fall into the hands of Our Lord. As often as there used to be shouts through the door, there are now fists and clubs and my blood runs red from wall to wall.
Every day, seems like every hour of the day, more blood is spilled. I pray for death at times. But then they cease. They will not let me go to the Father just yet.
I can barely open my eyes now. I see only through the slivers.
And this night I hear famiiar footsteps, But this time as the guards leave the light remains. And through these nearly shut eyes I see a figure, slight, and lithe stands in the doorway.
I cannot see her face because it seems ringed in the light and my eyes will not open fully.
“The floors run red!” she cries. When will this end? My eyes cannot bear to see this!. All this blood, your wounds., those bruises.”
“How do you know of these?” I ask.
“My Valentine, I am so sorry, I have spoken in anger forgetting the gratitude. Your prayers my Valentine, your prayers. I can see. I don’t know how, but I can see.”
She began to rush toward me and for the first time I saw her stumble. But she fell safely into my arms. Close enough to whisper, “This evening as the sun set I beheld colors. I was blind and now I see.”
And light shattered the darkness in my soul.
I shall have no earthly deliverance.
But Asteria has sight.
And I am now the one who cannot see.
There is one more installment of the Lost Journals of St. Valentine. Please come back tomorrow for the final chapter.
In God’s love