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In the Spirit of Valentine-Ash Wednesday

Today happens to be Ash Wednesday, coinciding with one of the most popular days I have grown to know as lovers’ day, Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, it seems to be business as usual for some parts of the world like Czech Republic and in places like France, it doesn’t seem to be as loud as it is in Nigeria (maybe Ash Wednesday has something to do with this).

Back home, the internet is buzzing with red editorials, love inspired giveaways and deep love quotes by couples celebrating each other, the single sisters choosing self-love or those who say they care little about the day. Whichever category you fall into, love is in the air. However, I also know that there is a category of people who are super pissed about the Catholic calendar especially for those who must observe Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of lent and is a solemn day.

Ash Wednesday is a day to be sober, fast, be deep in prayers, intensify the act of giving alms and basically make some sacrifices as you observe the day. The biggest sacrifice for me in all of this is that I get to give up eating beef on this day in accordance with the teachings of the church. It is always a tough day for me. A story I may tell you all about someday but for now, let’s stick to the relationship between Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday and the lesson inherent in this day.

Last year, Her Network had me describe what love is to me and in my definition, I concluded by saying Love is God.

Maybe this is the church’s way of teaching us a lesson in love. A way to remind us of the kind of love that God really desires of us. A love that is unconditional. A love devoid of sinful and lustful desires. A love that sacrifices. A love that cares for the poor. A love that bears no grudge. A love that requires you to find silence amid all the noise and reflect on the quality of your life. A love that that brings you closer to God as we continually strive for the salvation of our souls. A love that demands that you give freely of yourself without expecting anything in return (Hard but necessary). Now, that is the kind of love that Christ gave the church and requires of us and that is what Lent is all about.

So, rather than whine and get all cranky about Valentine being the same day as Ash Wednesday, embrace it and let it teach us to do better as we love. For the smart brothers who have decided to use Valentine’s Day as an excuse not to shower their loved ones with gifts, this shows us that you never really agve those gifts from your heart brother *smiles*. Not like love is all about giving gifts though and no one said gift giving should happen only on Valentine’s Day.

With that said, I wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day and I am curious to know how you spent your day. Let me know in the comment section!

Oma Ehiri

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