Ash Wednesday and Valentines Day

February 9, 2018

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day, February 14th.  This is a very unusual happening.

Daniel Fachting, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist, Lay Minister at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Clare, and Chancellor for Knights of Columbus Council #3029. He can be reached at fachtingcounseling1@gmail.com or by calling (989) 386-8166.

Daniel Fachting, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist, Lay Minister at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Clare, and Chancellor for Knights of Columbus Council #3029. He can be reached at fachtingcounseling1@gmail.com or by calling (989) 386-8166.

I can’t remember it happening before.  What a wonderful coincidence!  Ash Wednesday, the day when we begin Lent by going to mass and receiving ashes on our foreheads is celebrated by a sharing of cards that express the love we have for each other.  It’s a double blessing!

For Catholics, Lent is a time (the six weeks leading up to Easter) when we retreat a little from the world and focus on ourselves in self-examination.  We reflect on the way we live, think about priorities, relationships, and spiritual growth.

We practice prayer more earnestly, try to heal relationships, give a little more, attend special liturgies, fast, give something up, and take some time to simply focus on God.  We take the time to reflect on the enormous love that God the Father has for us, that His Son would become human and die for us.  Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, knowing that one day, we too, will rise.

To be able to celebrate Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day makes it even more of a special day.  Valentine’s Day is celebrated by sharing cards with friends and lovers, expressing the love we have for them.  I always look forward to Valentine’s Day, looking forward to receiving love in cards and time spent together.

During Lent we Catholics attend a special liturgy called Stations of the Cross.  In our church there are fourteen pictures on the outer wall around the worship space that depict the passion of Jesus from his arrest until his death and burial.  We reflect at each picture and recite prayers as we walk with Jesus through his saving ordeal.

This prayer experience helps us to understand the great love God has for us.  The aim is not to make us feel guilty for our sin, but to impress on us that Jesus loves us and continues that love, even two thousand years later!

A good mantra for this Lent might be, “May I love with the love that Jesus loves me.”  It is also a good mantra for Valentine’s Day.

A reminder:  The Knights of Columbus will be having all you can eat Friday fish fries during the Lenten season beginning at 4:00 pm.

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