By Mary Sayad

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    IN HONOR OF ST. VALENTINE
    Feb. 2009

    This is a story about a Roman emperor and a Christian martyr and love born of hatred.

    During the third century, the emperor of Rome was Claudius 11. Claudius 11 commanded that all of Rome must worship his favorite gods. He banned Christianity and declared that all Christians should be martyred including anyone who befriended a Christian.

    Valentinus loved Jesus and was a pious Christian. He was well educated and he would not deny nor change his faith to please the emperor. Many Christians were arrested and eventually Valentinus was also taken to prison to be martyred.

    During his imprisonment Valentinus demonstrated a beautiful miracle. The jailer asked if he could bring his blind daughter to Valentinus to educate her. The child's name was Julia and every day her father would bring her to Valentinus. He was very kind to her and taught Julia a variety of subjects along with math and Roman history. Valentinus also taught her about God and Jesus.

    Julia longed to be able to see and she confided to Valentinus that she prayed to God to restore her vision. Valentinus encouraged her to keep praying. One day she asked Valentinus to pray with her. She took his hand and they prayed together. Immediately they were overwhelmed by a tremendous bright light. Julia could hardly believe that she was granted a miracle and was now able to see. Valentinus praised God for this wondrous miracle.

    Soon after it was time for Valentinus' execution, but the night before his execution, he wrote Julia a letter and encouraged her to pray frequently and to always love Jesus. He signed his letter "From your Valentine."

    Valentinus was martyred February 14, 270A.D. He is buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, Italy.

    There is a pink blossomed almond tree near his grave. It is believed that Julia planted this tree. This tree represents love, kindness, tolerance and friendship.

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    Beloved Friends,

    This is a delightful story of the power of love! Love comes in many forms. There's romantic love, parental love, family love, neighborly love and the most difficult and challenging is the love of our enemies.

    In Romans 12:9-10, Paul reminds us, "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with affection."

    We must bear in mind that marriage is meant between a man and a woman. We are consistently bombarded by contradictions to the Bible. Hold fast to your faith and don't compromise the teachings of the Bible. We must continue to care for everyone, yet never concede to wrong beliefs in the name of compassion. It is our duty to know and love our Heavenly Father. When we sin, we deny God's love and when we commit grave sins, we distance ourselves from God. As Christians, our duties, first and foremost are to follow the Commandments of Our Heavenly Father.

    Following the Commandments allows us and our families to be consistently enveloped with the favor of God's blessings. The Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is our superior example of love and obedience.

    During these very unique and trying times, let us pray for the conversion of our enemies and sinners. This is the predominant appeal of our Blessed Mother in all of her miraculous apparitions. She loves us all very much and asks us to pray for peace within our families and for world peace.

    Little Child's Prayer

    Dear Lord I hope this day will be
    A happy one for You and me
    I hope I do not make You sad
    By doing something that is bad
    I want to be real good to You
    The way my parents teach me to
    Because dear Lord, I love You so
    For helping me to learn and grow
    For being kind to me each day
    And watching while I sleep and pray
    Please listen to my little prayer
    And keep me in your loving care
    I never want to make you cry
    Or spoil the sunshine in the sky
    I only want to look above
    And give you happiness and love

    1948 by James Melcalfe, Author of Portraits

    Enjoy your flowers and chocolates and especially the simple things of life!

    Your companion in prayer,
    Mary

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