Monthly Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Do Valentine’s day 💗 and Ash Wednesday fit together, particularly when many give up chocolate during Lent?  Or, must we give up Valentine’s day in order to recognise Ash Wednesday?

Lots of stories about the origin of Valentine’s day. St Valentine was a priest, martyred at Rome, 3rd Century, by Emperor Claudius. Valentine was a real person as archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to St Valentine.  The legend says that Valentine tried to convert people to Christianity, married Christian couples and aided persecuted Christians. Valentine was told to renounce his faith or be sentenced to death beaten with clubs and beheaded. He chose the latter.  In 496, Pope Gelasius marked 14th February as a feast in honour of Valentine’s martyrdom. 

Some say the connection of St Valentine’s feast day with lovers is linked to either the traditional day in medieval belief when birds mated, or more likely as linked with the pagan Lupercalia festival in Rome, which occurred on the Ides of February.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.  The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us.  Lent is a season to remember God as our creator.  It is a time to ask for God’s forgiveness – to restore God’s image within us.  It is a time to reflect on all that Jesus suffered, how Christ suffers still and to prepare for the resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday.  It is also a time to remember that our God is loving and merciful.  He suffered not for suffering sake, but for love’s sake. Jesus was critical of pious actions done for praise of people rather than out of love.  Jesus showed us how to love and pleaded with us to love God, ourselves and each other. 

The overlap of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday reminds us that our God loves us.  Over and over again in scriptures, God offers to soften and put a new heart within us.  He suffered for us. He forgives us.  He asked us to love God, ourselves and our neighbour.  The loving heart is God’s will..

All blessings,