Valentine was a pagan priest who lived during the Roman persecution against Christians. Though he wasn't a Christian himself, he was repulsed by the Roman tortures and began secretly to protect believers.
Helping Christians was a serious crime and Valentine landed in a dull, dark prison. His time there would have been fairly short, except while there he became a Christian. The result: Valentine was sentenced to death.
During his last days, Valentine often thought of his family and friends. Since they were forbidden to visit, they developed a unique way of sending messages to each other. Valentine would squeeze his arm through the bars in his window to reach the violets that grew outside. Each day, after picking a heart-shaped leaf, he would carefully pierce it with a message like "Remember your Valentine." He would then send it to his loved ones by way of homing pigeons supplied by his family. Toward the end of his life the message changed to a simple, daily "I love you."
When he refused to renounce his Christian faith and turn back on the Lord he had grown to love, Valentine was clubbed to death in his cell on February 14, 269 AD.
For Valentine, love was more than the mushy gushy stuff we think of today. It was above sentimental feelings or infatuation. It was deeper than sexual attraction or physical desire. It was a love tough enough to survive the rugged times of life.
Love is more than a feeling that comes and goes. It is not based on circumstance, climate, clothes, character or come-ons. It is a commitment that carries a price tag. It demands action.
It means caring for a person even if they are in a bitter angry mood. It means putting the other person's needs, desires and wishes before yours. It means going out of your way to accept, respect and forgive.
This Valentine's Day, remember Valentine.