Love. The word is scattered across posters, billboards, and store fronts this time of year. The story of St. Valentine is my inspiration as I think about slavery and exploitation:
In 270 A.D., marriage had been outlawed by the emperor of Rome. It was thought to create weak and unreliable soldiers because they would be reluctant to leave their wives and families during war. Christianity was also outlawed due to the emperor’s desire to be the only supreme authority.
St. Valentine was a bishop who believed that people should have these freedoms, and secretly performed matrimony services for couples. He was eventually imprisoned for two counts against the emperor: his faith and his disobedience regarding marriage. St. Valentine refused to back down, for which he received a three-part execution. He was beaten, stoned, and decapitated.
It is said that while he was in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and sent her a farewell note signed, “from your Valentine.” He died on February 14, 270 A.D.
St. Valentine stood for justice in the face of a cruel emperor. He was the voice and hope for many young couples. How can we honour his legacy this Valentine’s Day in the face of slavery and exploitation? What does it look like to show love to victims of sex trafficking?
Victims of forced prostitution are praying for someone to be their Valentine. Not just someone to give them roses or chocolates, but a true St. Valentine who is willing to stand up for them in the face of organized crime. Â People like Sunitha Krishnan.
Love 146 asks us this question today: When is a broken heart worth celebrating?
When it changes the world.
Survivors like Timea Nagy, Somali Mam, Trisha Baptie, and Long Pross are telling their stories and helping others do the same. They are someone’s St. Valentine. Send a Love 146 Valentines E-Card today, remembering those who need love.