March 2018 News
Sometimes it feels as if Christmas was a very long time ago; other times it seems only yesterday that we entered into Advent and started the new church year. Regardless, whether it seems to you that time has moved very quickly or slowly, we find ourselves once again nearing the middle of Lent, with Easter just weeks away.
This is coming a little after-the-fact, but for the first time in 73 years, Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day. This mashup of religious and secular holidays, with Easter falling on April Fool’s Day this year, did not go unnoticed and there was an abundance of clever and witty (or not) cards, sayings, and ideas: “Keep the Lent in VaLENTine”; “You can’t spell Valentine without LENT”; Valentine cards with “Be mine, but remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”; heart-shaped ash smudges; gifts of empty boxes of chocolates, etc., you get the idea.
Carolyn Dollard pointed out that the immense, sacrificial love of God that is at heart of Ash Wednesday is reflected in all human love and relationships, not merely the romantic ones we celebrated on Valentine’s Day: “I think the graces of falling in love, being in love, the Sacrament of Marriage and the graces hidden in family life can be brought consciously to mind on Valentine's Day, helped by Ash Wednesday”. So she advised: "Let’s build on the sentiments of Valentine’s Day love, and talk about how we live out our love, quite unconsciously most of the time, in the daily feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for life, seeking out the lost, going the extra mile in our relationships. And in so doing sometimes you can glimpse the face of Christ and feel the Gospel in action. This is the love of God at work in us, unselfish, and celebrated on Valentine’s Day.
A holy, honest and transforming Lenten season to us all.