This year, 2018, Ash Wednesday is on February 14th, which is also the Feast Day of Saint Valentine. In secular society, it is known as Valentine’s Day.
I saw a meme online indicating that “Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day” and that fact, along with the fact that “Easter falls on April Fool’s Day” makes it a “weird” year for Catholics.
To that I say:
Ash Wednesday is greater than Valentine’s Day.
Easter is MOST DEFINITELY greater than April Fool’s Day.
It is not a “weird” year for Catholics. It is an awesome year for Catholics.
Why is it an Awesome Year for Catholics?
For this journal’s sake, I will focus on Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day.
In Part II of this journal I will tackle Easter, which falls on April Fool’s Day, which also happens to be my “dateaversary” with my husband.
Ash Wednesday is greater than Valentine’s Day. The commercialized, secular Valentine’s Day. Not the Saint Valentine who was executed for defending his Christian faith, St. Valentine Day.
To Catholics, February 14th is usually St. Valentine’s Feast Day. I’ve wondered how many people who celebrate secular Valentine’s Day know that this “holiday” actually stems from a real person, Saint Valentine, being murdered in February, what is now considered Valentine’s Day?
I know that sounds a bit morbid, but if you are to celebrate a holiday, shouldn’t you understand the history behind it?
You can read more about Saint Valentine’s history here.
In short, as I mentioned above, Saint Valentine refused to renounce his Christian faith and for that, he was executed.
I think that it is perfect that Ash Wednesday and the Feast Day of Saint Valentine fall on the same day this year.
But, of course, Ash Wednesday trumps Saint Valentine.
But, Saint Valentine would have wanted it that anyway.
I believe that Saint Valentine would be less than thrilled that his Feast Day has been distorted into a secular holiday where people buy each other cards and gifts, many feeling obligated to do so and others feel left out if they are not in a relationship or have someone to celebrate the day with.
Some would argue that Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love.
But celebrating love doesn’t only mean purchasing a $6 card in the store.
Love is something that should be celebrated every single day and in each moment.
Even the moments we don’t feel love.
Love is love even when we don’t even want to love.
As Mother Angelica stated, “Love is not a feeling; it’s a decision.”
Love even when your husband left his socks outside of the hamper for the millionth time.
Love even when your wife forgets to turn off the light in the bathroom at night for the millionth time.
Life is short but love doesn’t have to be.
Because, as Saint Theresa of Calcutta stated, “at the end of life, we are going to be judged on the basis of our love for one another.”
Ash Wednesday is the perfect reminder of that.
“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
I believe that Saint Valentine would be honored to give up his Feast Day for one of the holiest days of the year.
Ash Wednesday opens Lent, which is a season of fasting and prayer and leads up to Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What better love story is there than the love Jesus Christ has for all of us?
On Ash Wednesday, we receive ashes on our foreheads.
Not only do the ashes “symbolize penance and contrition,” they also remind us that our “God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts.”
This Ash Wednesday, I will remember how much God loves me and you.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
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