In his book Celebrating the Saints, LCMS pastor Rev. Will Weedon articulates that lesson this way: “God remembers what people forget.”
Think of the Israelite midwives who defied Pharaoh's order to snuff out the Hebrew babies (Exodus 1.15-22), or Mary's humble anointing of the Lord's feet; as Jesus said at the time, "Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her" (Matthew 26.12). These people and actions, so forgettable in the sight of the world, are what our God cherishes.
So also in the case of St. Valentine. Weedon continues:
Such is the mercy of our Savior, who remembers even the sparrow!
Baptized into Christ, marked with the holy cross as the Lord’s own, fed with the body and blood of the Savior, Valentine lived and served, loved and died a witness to the invincible love of God in Christ Jesus. God remembers His saints across the ages, even the multitude of His own who never end up with a commemoration in the Church’s calendar. Not one is forgotten.
"Patron saint” of the obscure
As Lutherans, we don't really subscribe to the idea of "patron saints"—that is, the notion that some saints provide supernatural support to God's people in particular walks of life. We can nevertheless imaginatively adapt the concept, leaving out the veneration aspect. And to me, if St. Valentine were to be patron of anything, it's neither love nor greeting cards; it's obscurity.
Weedon goes on to quote from the 5th century Christian leader Gelasius, who wrote that Valentine is among those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” I find this greatly comforting. Nothing is lost on God. No toiling in obscurity, no anonymous gift, no unheralded kindness escapes the notice of “your Father who sees in secret” (Matthew 6.4).
St. Valentine, patron saint of the obscure, reminds us that the smallest kindnesses—even a “cup of cold water for one of these little ones”—are heroic acts in God’s kingdom. And who knows? Perhaps hundreds of years from now people will be giving candy and bouquets in your remembrance as well.
Okay, maybe we can do without the candy.