How are you combining Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday?
February 14, 2018
I’m curious how you are overlaying Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday? At first blush, it leaves me uneasy to think that the Hallmark holiday of Valentines is crowding out a day of reflection on our faith journey. But here’s the thing – both days are days of the heart. Our hearts can hold both love and deep reflection. Our hearts can hold both in tandem: Deep friendship and love. Deep reflection and discomfort. This overlap of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday is a beautiful reminder of the messiness of life as we love others and love God.
Families facing homelessness in Bridge of Hope live that out every day as they learn to love and trust new friends, often after being so traumatized that fear overwhelms them. Neighboring Volunteers live it out as they too learn to love and trust a family whose life experiences have been so different than their own.
For this day of hearts and crosses, love and prayer, Valentines and Ashes, I offer this Franciscan Benediction (with a few of my own edits!):
May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice and homelessness,
So that you may work for justice for families facing homeless.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, hunger and abuse,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done;
To bring justice and kindness and friendships to all our children and the homeless families we serve.
Discomfort and kindness. Valentines and Ashes. May they both be yours and may God walk with you as the Christian community begins this 40 day Lenten walk with Jesus.
Walking this Lenten journey,