Love has a saint…Valentine…his story concludes today…

by Craig on February 15, 2012

And this is why we call those little love notes, and the ones we give them to…

source

“Valentines”

February 13, 270 AD

I can do nothing but pray now.
There are no more visits.
No one speaks to me.
There is no more food…
and only the water that pools on the floor, which I share with the rats.

This is the last chapter to the story of Valentine. The story began here and about 15 minutes of reading will take you from beginning to this end. Even if you just read this – it’ll tug on your heart. The ending is bitter – but dark chocolate-y sweet. Writing the story went a little longer than I planned – so two parts of it had to be placed on Love’s twin blog, Deep into Scripture. In case you’d like to peak at any parts, or if you haven’t read the whole story, here…

The beginning
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
part 8
part 9
part 10
part 11
part 12
part 13

and now, le fin de Valentine…

♥✞ღ

This must be the way it shall end.

I have the ribbon, and the rose petal. I have my faith.
I have had fleeting happiness these many months.

But this body will soon fail me.

February 14, 270 AD

The door bursts open. There is a message to be read from the Emperor of Rome.

“I have been gracious to you for nearly a year.  I have offered you a kingdom. You have denied this great chance and will not yield. There is but one thing left…your head. Today is the day to die Valentine, and be remembered no more.”

I ask for a scribe because my hands cannot write.
I fear I may have forgotten how to write anyway.

The request is granted.

I ask him to write this and deliver it…swear him to secrecy.
But how can I know the level of his sincerity?

Then he draws this on the ground…

And this…

“It is Italus.” he says.

Then he raises his hood.

“And how is your bride, your Alena?”
For I remember the day I married them.
I remember the night he had to arrest me.

He tells me that Rome is full of brides and husbands despite the decree of Claudius.

He tells me of thousands who have descended upon the city of Rome this day…
thousands united by an invisible bond of matrimony.

I am to die. But I am not to die alone.
He swears loyalty to me and begins to write what I say.

My Asteria,

I am leaving this earth.  A mansion awaits me, and one for you as well.
You have been food for my soul, and balm for my heart.
You have been sunlight in the absence of any beam from the sun.
You have been laughter, and joy, and love.
I go now to meet the sword.

source

Today is the day I die – but live.

My heart breaks…
for I will not see your face again…here.
But I will see you again.

Remember me…
and remember this…
I carry with me today…
our ribbon…
our rose petal…
our love.

Until we meet again.

Your Valentine.

linking today with Ann…

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

thefisherlady February 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

ah Craig… so very lovely!
Did you read Ann’s from today… the love box… enduring love… it never ends
like the son’s love for us… nothing can separate us from it

the story of The people of Esther is at this same date… and they all gave love gifts to each other to celebrate God’s great love towards them

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

Susan, first of all I’m sorry for being so late to respond to your comment – I’m fighting pneumonia as I write this – it’s hard to keep my head up right now. Anyway, thank you for your comment – and I did read Ann – and nothing – NOTHING can separate us from God’s love – amen – and thank you for the reminder of the story of Esther – and God bless and keep you my friend.

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Katie February 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Oh what beautiful ending to such a tragic event in our history.

Valentine is remembered always…….. God’s love is faithful.

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 9:24 am

I forget what movie I was watching – but in the movie the character explained why we want to be married – it’s for significance – it’s a guarantee that someone will be a witness to our life – because we all want our life to be noticed. I think there might be something to that. And I’m really, really, really glad that whether I’m married or not – whether unnoticed or not – our Lord notices me – notices US. God bless you Katie!

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Dawn @ Dawnings February 17, 2012 at 9:37 am

Craig,
I have never liked Valentine’s Day. (I will never again write that without the apostrophy, because the day indeed is his.) What a champion of love, Love. And despite the commercialism that I detest and the way that celebrating love on this one calendared day feels too prescribed, I think you may have won me over.

Thank you for this gift. Happy Valentine’s Day…belated. I am very belated.

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

Dawn, first of all, I’m sorry for responding so late to your kind comment. I’m battling a wee bit of pneumonia as I write this – it’s hard to keep my head up for very long. sorry! And about the story – even just the facts without my fictional embellishment – the story of Valentine won me over too. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you as well. God bless you and all of yours.

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Lisa Maria February 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

Happy Belated St. Valentine’s Day Craig.. I don’t celebrate it because my anniversary is 3 days later… today in fact! Just wanted to stop by and thank you for the story… it was very imaginative and, as I said before, your words have the power to transport a soul. We have to assume that his friendship with Asteria was a pure and unconsummated love since he was, after all a Bishop and would have taken a vow of chastity among others… can’t see the Church making him a saint if there was any doubt about that!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

… And a belated happy anniversary to you and your husband Lisa Maria. The 22nd if I remember right

.•*¨`*•.¸.•*¨`*•. .•*¨`*•.☆Happy 22nd (?) Anniversary!!☆.•*¨*•.•*¨`*•.¸.•*¨`*•. .

between you and me – I’ll be attending a writers conference in a couple of months – the same one where I pitched my little love devotional – I may pitch this as an historical novel – I think I could do it – I think…

And I, too, picture the love as a chaste love. I looked into it and the Church didn’t make the rule of celibacy for the priesthood until the 300’s – and this story is dated before then. But I think there was always leaning toward the rule of celibacy – even before the churchwide rule. And if the church was leaning at this point – I would imagine a bishop of the church would be following the rule – even as unwritten yet. So I’m with you! God bless you Lisa Maria!

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Lisa Maria February 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

Still catching up on my reading and just now seeing this. Thank you for your good wishes Craig and yes… it was my 22nd. God bless!

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Sylvia February 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Craig,
This is a really good story. I like the little signals you put in it: the drawing in the sand, and especially those rose petals! After the first time, whenever they appeared, they gave me goosebumps!
But I think it is a very important story, too. I would like to see it get widespread and popular, because in a day when marriage vows have lost so much value in humanity’s eyes, a story bringing to life a real historical threat to its existence, to the freedom even to choose it, and one man’s laying down of even his life to maintain that freedom for others, maybe we’d appreciate it a bit more!
Just thinking ahead toward next year — or the next. God bless.

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

Sylvia, first of all, I apologize for being so late to reply to your comment. I’m fighting a wee bit of pneumonia as I write this to you. Keeping the head up is a challenge. Anyway, sorry! Thank you for reading the story with such care. The thing about the icthus being drawn in the sand – it comes from remembering that it was a way the early Christians identify themselves one to another – one would draw the line – then, if the other one was a Christian – they would complete it. So here a little variation of that.

and I heart the rose petals!

keep in mind that much of this is fiction – it is ALL based on history – but I have taken some dramatic license. If you’d like to know exactly what the historical parts of the story are – just let me know and I’ll send you an e-mail. Thank you Sylvia – and God bless you!

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Dawn @ Dawnings February 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Craig, I’d love to take you up on your offer to Sylvia to separate the fact from the fiction that caused this story to come alive and pierce my heart. It has stayed with me these days and I even shared it with my husband. I am compelled by the part of the story where you say that outlawing marriage would become an ultimate threat to Christianity itself. It is a provokative thought I am still mulling over.

Of course, please feel free to do it later when you are feeling better. My interest will not wane. Feel better soon.

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

How can I not respond to this right away, no matter how I feel? (◔‿◔)

lets see, by memory…

the date of the edict – and it’s outlawing marriage in order to get more troops
the real characters Claudius, Valentine, Asteria
Asteria was the jailer’s daughter – blind – healed by a Valentine miracle
the nightly visits and romance were all mine
his defiance of the edict and his martyrdom for it

the rose petals are me too

that pretty much covers it I think – let me know if you have any questions (◔‿◔)

God bless!!

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Sylvia February 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I hope you’re sleeping and don’t bother reading this till you feel better and stronger (pneumonia’s not be be taken lightly), but I did want to check back in –although I see you already explained to Dawn.

I did know about this, even wrote a mini-post about it (just the facts, ma’am) last year, here: http://sylvrpen.com/2011/02/valentines-day/
It’s a great story of the faith, fiction or non-fiction.

Related question, if you know, but only in your good time(!): Up to this point in time, weren’t priests still free to marry, as far as church rules went?

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Craig February 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Sylvia – i checked that our – I was curious myself – the “official” rule of celibacy didn’t happen till the 300’s but there was a strong leaning toward celibacy before then. I’d have to research more – like what was the stance of the bishop of Rome – who would have been most likely to affect Valentine’s position. And much more. SO fact is – maybe ¯\(◠‿◠)/¯ For now at least – maybe because not being married I am celibate – I choose the story to be one of chaste love. (◠‿◠)

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Renee February 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

I ended up on your page somehow and I am so blessed to have just read your entire story -Love has a Saint, the story of Valentine. I must tell you how much your writing moved and inspired me.
You are extremely talented. I would love to see your work get published as historical fiction. What a gift you have–Thank you for sharing it with the world.
Today is my 23rd wedding anniversary and reading this today was the perfect way to celebrate.

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Craig February 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

Renee, thank you for somehow finding your way here, I’d heart it lots if you came back (ˆ◡ˆ) thank you for your kind words – if I’m brave enough I’ll be pitching this to an editor at a writers conference in just a couple of months – and of course I’ll be blogging about that – so stay in touch and find out if any of this goes anywhere – God’s will not mine always – but I do have dreams. And….

.•*¨`*•.¸.•*¨`*•. .•*¨`*•.☆Happy 23rd Anniversary!!☆.•*¨*•.•*¨`*•.¸.•*¨`*•. .

Again, thank you very much, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours!!

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