Love’s holiday has a story…the story of Valentine (pt 2)

by Craig on January 26, 2012


March 14 269 AD

I hold the letter from the Bishop of Rome.
Lips tight, I sigh…
and shake my head…as I read.

(This is part 2 of the story of Valentine, bishop of Interamna, part 1 is here. )

He has forgotten.

Valentine, for ten years now we have had peace with this Empire. Is it that you pine for the days of lions and the arena? I implore you to cease your activity. This Emperor will go the way of the others. Let him have his decree. What is marriage that it be so important? We are not marrying in Rome, and we are at peace with Claudius. Rejoice in his folly. Let Our Lord fight the battle. Why bother the nest of hornets?

I cannot let it go without reply:

Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, my Felix, but only in the truth.
Marriage is the earthly representation of Our Lord’s marriage with his bride, the Church.
This is just one step of many that will have us soon worshiping the Sun and stars.

Unless we stand.

I wasn’t yet born, but you were there when Perpetua was convicted for her words…

“Everything has a name. My name is Christian. This cannot be changed”.

You know the children…
who were born of her child…
the one born in that prison.

Children conceived in love…and marriage.

It is no small thing you are ready to discard.

Have you forgotten her response to her jailers…
who, seeing her moaning through labor pains…
asked how she could possibly bear the injury of the arena?

“Now my sufferings are only mine. But when I face the beasts there will be another who will live in me, and will suffer for me since I shall be suffering for him.”

Love does not stand down when injustice rises up.

You fear trial that comes because of our faith.
I fear the disappearance of faith by avoidance of trial.

Remember Felix, when after being trampled by the bulls in the arena, she staggered to her feet and asked the Emperor to allow her a moment to tie her hair again – because her loose hair was a sign of mourning – and this was a joyful day for her.

Remember how she then pleaded…
not with the Emperor…
but every Christian present…
blood mixed with tears…
to stand firm in the faith…

and love

love one another.

And how the bull ceased its attack and the soldier was ordered to dispatch her, and his sword failed to pierce her heart…but her breastbone instead.

And how she cried from pain…
yet found the strength…
to lift the sword’s tip from the ground…

and point it directly at her neck.

It’s the faith in the trial…
perseverance through the trial…
that is what we must be after…

not peace with hornets.

If you refuse to marry your people…

if you choose to allow love to die in Rome…

send them to me…

and I will marry them…

where I will not allow love to die…

in Itneramna.


There is much more to the story…

Please come back.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

A. January 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Thank you for this, Craig, this reminder so stark of the love and devotion and faithfulness to Christ of those who have gone before us, our great cloud of witnesses. This encourages me today-a day when I do not face an actual sword, only darkness, and I determine anew to face it faithfully and with as much contentment and gratitude as I can.


A. January 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I keep coming back to the pictures….they inspire and encourage me…thank you, Craig.


Craig January 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

A. First, sorry for the late response – this battle against the darkness – it’s kind of ongoing. Second – e-mail me specifics so I know what to pray for okay? And third, this great cloud of witnesses? It is good to know that not only Jesus has faced everything we’ve faced – but our cloud of witnesses probably also has as well – there’s someone somewhere who knows what we face – pretty much guaranteed. God bless you A.

And thank you for commenting on the pictures – you know how much I heart searching for just the right one.


Shaunie Friday January 26, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Hanging on every word Craig–what a story so far!!


Craig January 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Shaunie – thank you! It’s a splendid and inspirational story – this story of Valentine – I heart it! I’ll keep trying to do it justice God bless you and all of yours!


Lisa Maria January 27, 2012 at 6:15 am

Oh Craig! What power there is in these words! My heart is very full right now. This is so rich and there are so many areas it touches for me. Firstly, while reading it, something struck me. “Marriage is the earthly representation of Our Lord’s marriage with his bride, the Church.” I see a sort of creepy parallel between Valentine’s fight for holy marriages with the travesty that is the modern day fight for the right to marry in ways that are abominations to Him.

“Love does not stand down when injustice rises up.” I LOVE THAT!! I know it to be true too.

“You fear trial that comes because of our faith.
I fear the disappearance of faith by avoidance of trial.”

These two quotes remind me of what kind of world we live in now. There are so many people who do not live out their faith because of peer pressure and fear among other things and so many who lose it so easily because they allow the trials to break them…never realizing that it is the trial that builds their faith. We see a total discarding of values and morals, total abandonment of belief in God because more and more people are buying into the lies and then there are those who become apathetic…like the bishop.

Ok…I wrote my own post there…sorry :-) Looking forward to more. This is a great piece Craig, you are a very gifted writer!


Craig January 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Gee, so many valid points I don’t know where to start – yes – I look at it I can see that parallel of marriagess too, and I’d love to point fingers at the Bishop – but I too often become apathetic – I too often try to avoid trial – I too often don’t rise up when injustice rises up – I try to love – but I’m an imperfect vessel of love – Bless His heart for grace! Thank you Lisa Maria – I have doubts daily now about my abilities to write anything of any value – that’s part of this darkness that’s been hovering since I named the year “see” – it’s an ongoing battle – so your words are awfully helpful. God bless and keep you!


Lisa Maria January 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Craig…did I sound self-righteous there? I guess it does sound judgmental instead of a commentary. I certainly didn’t mean to…I’ve been through enough darkness myself. This building of faith comes with a high price and I’ve been there and back so many times that I know what its like to swing across that void wondering each time if I’ll make it back safely across this time. Praying for you Craig…hope you feel the light envelop you and dispel all those dark demons.

God bless you!


Craig January 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

No Lisa Maria – I was complimenting you. (ツ) You made so many good points I almost just said that I agree. I’m just not going to be judgmental of that bishop because I cannot caste stones. It’s all about me – not anyone else. I learn from things you write here. I’m thankful that you share with me – and everyone. I heart your comments – and I hearted this one. (ツ) God Bless – and thank you -for your prayers – as I navigate through this I’m learning more and more.


Andrea Dawn January 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

Beautifully written, Craig, this love story . . . I’ll be back.


Craig January 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Andrea Dawn, my friend, thank you and thank you, and God bless you!


Caddo Veil January 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Wow, this is inspired and anointed–thank you, brother Craig! God bless you abundantly today.


Craig January 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

first, Caddo, I’m sorry for the late response – this journey in and out of darkness that has been going on this whole month – the first of the year I named “see” – it’s slowing me down a little – I’m working on that (ツ) second, thank you – I’ve had too much humility installed in me recently to accept “anointed” – but just enough balance to accept “inspired” – I really do think that sometimes the writing doesn’t come from us. God bless you Caddo.


Michelle January 29, 2012 at 3:10 am

Just a thought: “this journey in and out of darkness that has been going on this whole month – the first of the year I named “see”” – if our literal eyes are unable to see clearly, then we must rely on our other senses. We have a bigger awareness of what is going on through them. And, to quote an author in a book series we enjoy (Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan, great for teens who don’t really enjoy reading) “People only see what they expect to see.” So, maybe this darkness is going to be used by our Lord to strengthen your Spiritual sight, that you may see more clearly. As I said, just a thought I had whilst reading you lately.

Anyways, I love your Valentine’s series.


Craig January 29, 2012 at 6:27 am

well I do know there IS a reason – and I’m suspecting many reasons why this darkness is here – and I know it’s “allowed” by our Lord – and I’m thinking in line with your conclusion. I hate the lessons – I love the teacher. And the Valentine series – other than my thank you Mondays and Weekends – will take us right up to Valentine’s Day. (◠‿◠) God bless you Michelle.


Katie January 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Beautiful Craig!!!!!!!!


Craig January 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm

EEEEEK – didn’t see this comment until just now – sorry – and thank you Katie – and wait a minute – so I can count your exclamation points………………….


!!!!!!!!! – there’s one more – I win (ツ)


Nacole February 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

“You fear trial that comes because of our faith.
I fear the disappearance of faith by avoidance of trial.”

wow! you couldnt possibly know how i needed to read this today. this really stuck out to me. bad news from the dr this week, and it looks like a long struggle and journey ahead of me.

did you write this, Craig? or is this taken from the real letter? this phrase is so full of wisdom! i heart it so much. (oh, and i will be plugging my link in here tomorrow for you when i get all my pics loaded up). ive missed being here.

blessings friend,



Craig February 5, 2012 at 6:00 am

Nacole, I’m sorry about the news of the struggle ahead – I understand having a health struggle – I stand with you my friend! As for the story – the basic facts are all historical – I’ve added fiction of my own to it – all of the letters are fictional – only the dates, the names, the places, are nonfiction. I never pictured myself as a fiction writer – but occasionally I guess we all can be. As for that phrase – I think fiction writers insert a little of their own story into their fiction – that’s wording is just something that came out – I guess I put it in there because it’s a lesson that I have to learn myself. Blessings to you Nacole – hang in there my friend.


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