Love’s holiday has a story you’ve not heard like this

by Craig on January 25, 2012

February 14, 269 AD

Her face is round, as are her eyes…
and dark and deep…
and head lowered…
a voice as veiled as her face…
she lilts a whispered “I do”.

His arms strong, chiseled chin, brown locks…
eyes even softer than hers…
like a doe in the forest.

He places his hand to her chin.
Raises it to until her eyes meet his…
and says in definitive and loving tone…
“I do”.

There are three witnesses to the ceremony, God, myself, and a single dove resting on a vine branch in the courtyard. They had come, cloaked and dark, hushed footsteps entering my home, hooded heads, like thieves, indiscernible against the morning mist.

There were the three knocks on my door…
then the pause…
then one more single rap upon the wood.

Three…


and…

One.

So I opened my door and began the ceremony ending in the joyful declarations of both that they would love, and cherish until death. Entering as two they departed as one. A few coins tossed in the fountain as they left. Nods exchanged between them and myself as they scuttled off down the path to the sound of morning larks.

No one will know but us.
No one can.
This marriage is secret.
They all must be.

As they left Antony entered, my friend, another of God’s priests, “You can’t continue to do this.” His first words to me, not good morning, but these. I brushed the comment aside like dust off of a windowsill.

My answer came as easily as breath,“The Emperor’s decree cannot stop the will of God. What’s one more secret marriage, two more outlaws. I’ll make the whole land outlaws and he’ll be able to arrest no one.”

The decree of Claudius that there will be no marriage in Rome is too obvious in nature. Married men, he thinks, don’t enlist, don’t fight the invading hordes to the north. So he thinks by outlawing marriage his army will grow. But Claudius will not win. There will be marriage among God’s people.

If they choose to fight, the decision is theirs.

He wants an army armed with swords and daggers.
I’ll build an army of Christian Love, by marriage.
And I know this…
within a generation the Kindgom of God…
will overtake the Glory of Rome…

♥✞ღ

The setting of this story is a quiet little hamlet in the heart of the Roman Empire, called Interamna. The location is fact, The decree to outlaw marriage by the Roman emperor Claudius in 269 AD is fact too. The priest conducting the secret marriages is fact as well. The rest…

a bit fiction to lend body to the story that will unfold over the days between here and the holiday bearing his name.

It’s my Valentine gift for you.

That’s his name, by the way, the priest.

He is Valentine, Bishop of Interamna…

and you’ve not heard this story, not told this way…

of secret marriages…

and love…

and Valentine’s day.

Please come tomorrow…

because there is so. much. more.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia January 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

Yes, I had heard the facts of this story, but never so beautifully told. The bit of added fiction brought it to life — and made my heart beat faster for Valentine, fearing the trouble he’s likely to face.

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Craig January 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Thank you Sylvia. I’ll try to throw a twist or two in the story for you (ツ) God bless you my friend.

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Shaunie Friday January 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

Exquisite!! Can’t wait to read this story!!

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Craig January 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Shaunie – I heart this story! So thank you, thank you. God bless you and yours.

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A. January 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Thank you, Craig, for spilling this story out to us during these bleak-at-times wintry days!

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Craig January 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’m kind of okay with the bleak of winter – it’s winter after all – but I do heart this story! e-mail coming soon – and maybe a PayPal button for tomorrow – 1 foot in front of the other – baby steps. God bless!

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Katie January 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I have heard the facts of Valentine, but love the way you weave the words.

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Craig January 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Katie, I didn’t know his story until last year –and thank my friend for your always kind words – I’m having fun weaving these words together. Who doesn’t heart a good love story (ツ) God bless you Katie!

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Nacole@sixinthesticks January 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

love it! cant wait to read more.

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Craig January 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

more on the way Nacole – thank you – God bless!!

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Cindy@12Tribes January 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Mmmm, I think you may have the gift of writing historical fiction as well as all your others…this is beautiful! What a way to pave the way towards Valentines!

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Craig January 29, 2012 at 6:41 am

Cindy, first, all this struggle of darkness and light lately – it’s slowed me down a little – so I’m sorry my reply is late. Secondly – I think I heart writing historical fiction. Now go tell a publisher what you told me (◠‿◠) happy Valentine’s Day!

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Lisa Maria January 26, 2012 at 5:46 am

Awesome Craig! You are a great story-teller. I sort of know the story as a lover of history myself and I can’t wait to read how you will spin this more truth-than fiction tale. Always blessed coming to your place…I’ll be baaack.

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Craig January 29, 2012 at 6:43 am

Lisa Maria, I didn’t learn of the story until just last year. I fell in love with it immediately. I’ll stay true to the history – but weave in some fiction. I heart the story! And I’m always blessed by you being here – God bless you – and I’m sorry I’m so late to reply to your comment – it’s this darn struggle of light and dark – working on that! (◠‿◠)

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kd sullivan January 26, 2012 at 7:19 am

How lovely! I’m sharing this everywhere, and coming back for more!! I never knew the story of Valentine!

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Craig January 29, 2012 at 8:26 am

kd – sorry – your comment got caught in my spam catcher and I just rescued it. Anyway – thank you – and thank you – and thank you. I never knew the story until last year – this will all be built on history – my little historical fiction – history like the year, the Emperor, the names – at the end I’ll maybe do a post on the bare facts – but until then it’s a retelling – I heart this story!! God bless and keep you kd.

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Caddo Veil January 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Oh my goodness, Craig–I’m completely taken in!! Such elegant quiet beauty, and spiritual romance! Wow wow wow God bless you abundantly this day and always. (I gather you’ve recovered from your illness? Prayer works, however slowly–but surely.)

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Craig January 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

Caddo, first, I apologize for being so late reply to your comment – sorry. Second – thank you for your really kind words. I heart the story! And the illness – these things tend to linger a little because of my insomnia – but it’s getting there – thank you. The darkness – and down-ness – that’s the more pressing of the issues – and there is light at the end of that tunnel too, God bless you my friend.

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imperfect prose January 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

such a beautifully told love story, craig… woven tenderly together. thank you for this valentine’s day gift. e.

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Craig January 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

Emily, the “weaving tenderly together” I learned that, in part, from you – thank you. God bless you!

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kd sullivan February 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Can I have you guest post this post tomorrow morning? I’d love to share it with my readers! Sorry for the late notice.

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