This year’s dual feast of St. Valentine and Ash Wednesday is more than a mere coincidence. Both feasts are rooted in love. In fact, all of reality is rooted in God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. St. Valentine, a priest who was concerned with the state of sin of young soldiers living with women in an impure manner, sought to educate the soldiers and bless their unions. Ultimately, this cost him his life. He was killed by Emperor Claudius who forbade marriage for soldiers. This love which was exhibited by St. Valentine is the same type of love Christ has for us.
Ash Wednesday leads us to a voyage of the greatest feast of sacrificial love. These two events (Valentine day and Ash Wednesday) have a deep relationship in self-sacrificing love and it has a message for us: true love self-sacrificing. True love is all about caring for one another in every context of life – in schools, hospitals, and most especially on the streets of our cities. This holy season of Lent, let us dedicate ourselves to loving our neighbor, especially those most in need. Let us not simply ‘play at’ Christianity, attending church but not genuinely wanting to repent. Let us spend Valentine’s Day in church, not restaurants, embracing the opportunity to draw ourselves closer to God.
By: Chidi Izuazu, Holy Land Pilgrim