Anyone who’s been in love will tell you that love isn’t always a big glowing red heart. It’s often times the colour of ashes! To truly be in love, we must burn!
For many young Catholic folks, the fact that Ash Wednesday falls on February 14 this year is a huge disappointment. But that’s only to those who intend to keep the Lenten fast and abstinence on that day.
Many more simply don’t give a hoot. They intend to ignore all the rules of the fast (even though they are Catholics). They intend to drink, smoke, fornicate, ‘adultrate’, eat to stupor, and do whatever else they’re used to doing on Valentine’s day.
So please let’s wait a minute, take a deep breath and ask ourselves some salient questions. Do we truly intend to celebrate love this ash Wednesday? If so, then we must remake our already made up minds. Pleasure isn’t necessarily happiness.
The moment the ashes come upon our foreheads on Valentine’s day, we will be reminded that we are nothing but DUST, and we must be reconciled to God if we must have any value. So we must be prepared to let the pleasures burn for love of our souls.
I think about the many young people out there who have planned their Valentine’s day to be all shades of red, and I pray that they add some shades of ash to their celebration.
After all, no human relationships can make sense if no one is ready to let go of the self every now and then. Love means burning out ego, pride, selfishness, malice, envy and hatred, and letting peace, harmony, understanding, and reconciliation take their place.
When Jesus ascended the cross, he burned for love. He didn’t look at the majesty of his divinity, but descended low in his humanity. His intention was simply to give, and not take.
In the same way, we must be ready to let this year’s Valentine take on a much more wholesome meaning.
Love can only be true, if it is willing to burn.

-Rev. Fr. Oselumhense K. Anetor