Today, February 14, is widely known as Valentine’s Day — a special day when we offer tokens of affection to our loved ones and commemorate the feast of the patron saint of love and marriage, Saint Valentine.
But who exactly is Saint Valentine and why is the day of hearts associated with him?
The beloved saint was a priest who lived near Rome in the year 270 A.D. During his time, soldiers were not allowed to get married because their Emperor, Claudius the Second, believed that having a wife and children made them weak.
Despite this ruling, Fr. Valentine secretly provided the sacrament of marriage to couples in his town. But as with any secret, people soon found out about his endeavors and he was imprisoned and sentenced to death. (Read: 4 Modern-Day Martyrs Whose Deaths Changed the World)
While he was in jail, Fr. Valentine gave out hearts made of parchment paper to remind soldiers and everyone around him of God’s love. According to folklore, on the day when he was to be executed, Fr. Valentine left a note that had the now-popular signature, “From your Valentine.”
From then, the practice of writing love letters and signing them with this signature became a global tradition that continues to this day— especially on February 14, the feast day of Saint Valentine.
A Feast Day Prayer to Saint Valentine
Dear Lord, who art high in the Heavens,
Giver of Love and Passion,
And He who strings the heart’s cords,
Lead the Lovers this day, February ten plus four.
The day during the month of two,
When the date is the perfect number of God
Greater two souls and two hearts.
Some Loves are fleeting,
But that which is built on you will never fail.
So guide the Lovers to know what is to be.
Your truths the Lovers’ mouths should speak,
For Your truth is that which is honest to the heart.
Only this, then, should pass over the red lips of the Lovers.
Your art, the Lovers simply a medium.
It is only with True Hearts that You can create a Masterpiece,
So let the Lovers remember that their Soul’s Desire
Is the one for which You light their Fire.
And let it be You who creates the Art of the Lovers;
The art of two into one.
Prayer from catholic.org.