What Today's Ash Wednesday Means For Tomorrow's Valentine Day

Posted by Cosmas Asogwa On Tuesday, February 12, 2013 0 comments
Two days after the shocking but understandable resignation of the head of the catholic church, Pope Benedict XIV
, CATHOLICS all over the world will today mark this year’s Ash Wednesday, signifying the commencement of the 40-day Lenten Season, a period of penance, reflection and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Catholics in accordance with tradition are expected to be marked with ashes on their forehead and reminded that from dust they came and to dust shall they return. 

These Ashes which are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year symbolize penance and contrition and they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. In this period, Christians are obliged to “fast, pray and abstain from heavy meals and other bad habits, as well as give alms.

A day after the commencement of this period of conversion, self denial, renewal, reconciliation, change and growth comes another feast of significant importance- Valentine day or the feast of st Valentine usually celebrated every 14th February.

The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote "from your Valentine" as a farewell to her.

Valentine day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). 

Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

In our own clime like many others too, it is a well known fact that valentine day has been misconceived in the sense that the focus of the day has been sidelined and rather the opposite is now preached.  Yes, Valentine’s Day is now a day when many can show off and satisfy their personal desires. Some people don’t even know what the day is all about, while others see it as a platform to carry out their sexual escapades. Many teenagers tend to make mistakes at this time. In a quest to find love, they end up being used.

In the face of this pathetic development in which tomorrow's Valentine’s Day will likely be seen as a day to indulge in every form of immorality all in the name of love, today's Ash Wednesday comes at a more auspicious time.

In the spirit of the Lenten season which starts with the today's Ash Wednesday, we should therefore imbibe the values of self denial and abstinence from immoral sexual related activities often characterizing valentine day. So simply put, thou shall not commit it.

Wishing you all a happy Ash Wednesday and Valentine day.


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