It is serendipitous that Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day are the same day this year. I think we are being invited to recognize what the two observances have in common.
Tradition holds that Saint Valentine was imprisoned by Roman soldiers because he was a follower of Christ. He smuggled notes out of prison urging the Christian community of Rome to stay strong while he was imprisoned. We send messages and cards on this day to remember that the Christian community of Rome endured hardship for our faith.
On Ash Wednesday the church urges us to pray, do good works and fast to foster mindfulness of God’s presence.
Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day have the same focus: love. Love is sometimes chocolates and flowers but more often love is doing for others; sacrificing for family, enduring hardship and extending ourselves to others.
May we enter Lent seeking to become more loving, hopeful, patient and faithful.
Love in Action
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Sister Barbara Rogers