Tomorrow two seemingly unrelated observations will collide in Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day.

The day of fasting when many Christians receive the mark of ashes on their foreheads will seem to stand in stark contrast to the bright red and pink store displays of candy hearts and flowers.

Yet, at the heart, these two traditions were both born in the Greatest Love.

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” This is the love that Jesus himself showed by laying his life down for us in his passion, death, and resurrection – the very sacrifice that Christians reflect on during the 40-day season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

It is also the same love that the 3rd century martyr St. Valentine showed. At a time when Christianity was illegal, he devoted his life to spreading the Gospel and helping couples have Christian weddings in secret. When he refused to renounce his faith in and love for Christ, he was beheaded.

For most of us, this same love is shown through the seemingly small, ordinary tasks of every day. When we do our every day tasks with faith and treat each person we encounter with patience, kindness, and empathy, this is a way of laying down our lives for God.

At St. Vincent de Paul, we are humbled to see all the ways you show love to your neighbors every day! We pray you have a Happy Valentine’s Day and a blessed Lenten season. May you experience more deeply the love of our merciful God.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

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St. Vincent de Paul Dayton
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Dayton, OH 45402

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