This is a posthumous interview I conducted of St. Valentine, the one who is remembered every February 14, the world over. As you can imagine, this interview is mostly a figment of my imagination. Some of the dates quoted are not confirmed, for your information. It has been written in contemporary English for better understanding. Enjoy!
Me: Sir, can we begin by you telling us a little about yourself?
St. Valentine: Well, you know my name, Valentine, I was born during the third century, I was a priest, and was executed for secretly marrying young people, against the evil decree of Emperor Claudius at that time.
Me: That was brave, what you did, and I’m sure you must relish the fact that your brave act is celebrated all over the world today?
St Valentine: (shaking his head and sighing deeply) you say “relish and celebrated”? Well I don’t relish it!
Me: hmm, but why not?
St Valentine: Number one, I did what I did because I believed in the right to truly love. I didn’t do it hoping to attract any kind of popularity or sympathy from the world today. Secondly, what you term celebration is more like mockery and abuse of a most noble intention to me.
Me: You say “mockery and abuse”? I honestly don’t think that’s the world’s intention.
St Valentine: You see, whether intentional or not, a wrong act is still wrong. Well, maybe a better part of the world is just confused or simply ignorant; that might explain why they call the mostly vain things they do “Love” or the expressions of it. You know, most times my heart bleeds at what both the youths and the “should be” better discerning adults do and call it “love”. For Christ’s sake, Love is far from what a majority of the world thinks it is.
Me: Now, you’re getting me really confused, what’s exactly wrong with how the world celebrates your remembrance?
St. Valentine: There’s nothing wrong with people exchanging greeting cards, flowers and gifts on that day. There is no problem with that. Where I have a problem though, is when a young man exploits that day or any other day for that matter to coerce a lady by gifts or any other means just to have carnal knowledge of her. I have a problem with married men deceiving and committing adultery with young girls. I have a problem with teens who think that Valentine’s Day is the best day to consummate their sinful lust and call it love. I have a problem with people calling love, that which is not love. To have my name attached to such lustful, immoral and sinful activities bleeds my heart.
Me: But you stood for love, you secretly married young people in love, why then did you do that, was it not in solidarity to the same expressions of love which you now condemn?
St. Valentine: Emperor Claudius; He was the emperor of Rome at the time I lived; he was obsessed with having a mighty army. He needed as much young men as he could possibly find to form this mighty army he dreamed of. However, he had little success conscripting men into his army, and somehow, he came up with the conclusion that the men refused to join his army because of their wives and families. He therefore came up with an edict that prohibited marriage, believing that without any wives or families to think about, the men would fight better and fearlessly. At the same time, he persecuted the Christians, he didn’t like us, Christians, and so his regime was also a time of persecution for the church. Of course, I rebelled against his policies, because in my opinion, they were devilish and anti-Christian. As a priest of the Church, I was a soldier for Christ, and I was willing and ready to die doing what was right in the sight of God. So I went ahead to marry people who desired to get married, secretly. I did this because marriage is an institution ordained by God. It is supposed to be a union between two mature, responsible and consenting individuals of opposite sex. I never supported any unholy union between any two individuals either before or after marriage.
Me: So you’re saying a lot of people have devalued the essence of your sacrificial actions, by engaging in unholy or immoral activities on this day?
St. Valentine: Yes! And that is exactly what I am against. I wonder why people, even purported Christians these days, rationalize sex before or outside marriage. You see, sex is supposed to be between two legally married people. I understand this would be a very unpopular argument, but there should be no justification, medically, psychologically, any justification at all for sex outside marriage. And yet on this day, a lot of immoral activities are initiated. That was never my idea or intention; I never wanted to be associated with such activities that are contrary to the clear instructions of God. It never ceases to amaze me, and yet they call it love! (Shaking his head).
Me: Can you please explain what love really means?
St. Valentine: I could take quite a time explaining what love really means, but I’ll rather just simply say, that Love is God and God is love. As such, any display, profession or expression of love that is outside what is acceptable by God, is not love. Love is the nature of God Himself, therefore, just as sin can never be found in God, so also should sin never be found in Love. Love is humble, patient, understanding, wise, selfless, sacrificial, enduring, believing, truthful and pure. Love is a consummation of beautiful and desirable Godly virtues. Yet, these days, people simply have no regard for Love, abusing it anyway they please. It is most unfortunate, for most youths, love has been reduced to lust.
The fact that you want to have someone around you all the time, that you want to be intimate with this person, does not mean you love the person; it could as well be lust. Love is much more. Love always, always wants the best for the person it is directed at, it always does. It doesn’t get hurt because that person refuses to do something that is wrong in the sight of God. Love is ready to lay down its life, hoping that someday, the person for whom it died would live a better life. Love is sweet. I can go on and on about love, but let me just stop here.
Me: Wow! Well, I guess you’d want to be better celebrated than you are today…
St. Valentine: No, I don’t want to be celebrated, that was never my intention, I want to be remembered for, living and dying for a Godly purpose.
Me: Okay, I get you now. I would like to go on with the interview, get to know things like, who you wrote your last letter to, the support you received from young people, while you were in jail, and all that, but I’ve been informed that my time is up. Sir, I appreciate the opportunity granted me to interview you, and I must say it has been a most worthwhile interaction. Now as a parting shot, what would you like to say to youths, to the singles and married, about the remembrance of what you died for?
St. Valentine: Thank you; I do also appreciate this interview too. As to who I wrote my last letter to (smiling), it was the prison guard, Asterius’ daughter. She was allowed by her father to visit me often, we used to sit and talk for hours, and she did a good job keeping my spirit up. And so, on the day of my execution, February 14, 269 A.D, I wrote her a parting letter, thanking her for her friendship and encouragements and signed it, “Love from your valentine.” And before you ask, yes, I did love her, with a pure love.
The young people that stood by me were wonderful, they showed me they believed in love, and I was not going to die in vain, it was an honour what they did. I was elated knowing that, despite the efforts of the emperor, Love would always win!
As for my parting shots; to the youths, I’ll say: remember what I did, but do so by expressing true and pure love, to friends, family and strangers and even enemies, and you’ll discover that love is noble and sweet, and cries of heart breaks would be eliminated.
To the singles: Pre marital sex is not the proof of love, it is however a proof of lust. Learn and show real love to as many as possible, and you’ll be a most sought after individual.
To the married: Marriage holds it’s own challenges, but like courage and strength on a battle field, Love conquers all, love keeps you faithful, makes you patient, and gives you the understanding and wisdom you need to make your marriage work. Remember, your marriage must work because it can.
To all in general, none in particular: Love is the essence of life, and life would be dead without love. Spread love not lust. Make the world a better place. With love from your Val.