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Dear beloveds,
“Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move.
Doubt truth to be a liar,
but never doubt I love.”

On February 14th Emperor Claudius decided to end my life. My death was by beating, stoning and then being beheaded. I was a Roman priest and a doctor. There was a time when Claudius the cruel was having a strong army. But it seemed that young men weren’t joining the army because of their attachments to wives and families. To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. For this I didn’t support, Claudius wasn’t my enemy he rather liked me, but I felt it was wrong to ban marriages. So I secretly started marrying lovers.

Claudius discovered this and ordered for my death. It was simply “off with his head!” well, ain’t that funny. I was imprisoned where I met the jailers’ blind daughter. She was a sweet dear and she befriended me the days I had before my death. To prove my Christian faith, I brought back her vision. I prayed and I believed in miracles. Before my death I wrote a letter to the jailers’ daughter. I signed it “from your Valentine”. She was an amazing kid and often listened to my advices and stories.

I don’t have much to tell you about me, but I wanted you to know about this day you celebrate. There are different reasons for this to be a romantic day, which wasn’t romantic for me at all, you see it my day to die. The feast of St. Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496. Some started celebrating Valentine’s feast day in February because the church wanted to Christianize an ancient Roman pagan festival called Lupercalia, which centred around fertility and purification, and also took place in February. Valentine’s feast day has been celebrated as a lovers’ holiday and a day of romance since the 14th century, when the date was thought to be the beginning of the mating season for birds. It has nothing in relation to my death day. But I thoroughly believed that love and marriage are pure. It’s sacred, so don’t waste your one life chance.

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It is quite a trend to shift partners in your life in the current day. It is believed that you need to test people before you live with them forever. But do remember it’s about never giving up on another human who is as imperfect as you are. It’s supporting their trials and being there when they fail. It’s not correct to be in abusive or negative relationships; that is indeed correct! But people change and love changes a lot of mistakes. Don’t waste your lives, my dear children. I cannot teach a whole generation how to live life or how to love, when I know majority ain’t reading my letter. That is how this generation lives life.

Its corruption don’t you agree? You think in so many modern ways that slowly but steadily ruin everything around you; your life, goals, love, image, body and family. Take baby steps in learning consistency. Take the toddlers path to learn about friendships, bonds and love. Be courageous and not afraid to love. If you get hurt, stand right up. Plaster your wounds, it will heal. Be strong.

As Rumi says “This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life and finally, to take a step without feet.”
Value every life and person. We are all humans and we make mistakes. Support your partners, friends and colleagues. We all need love and support to survive. Be brave and take that unconventional, conventional step of modern day.

May you fly and let your heart sore.

God’s blessings with you,
St. Valentine
Written by Devuni Goonewardene
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