Without looking, I knew I would find this sentence in some news source: “Parishioners… think Valentine’s Day is actually a great day to start Lent.” Romantic love, Jesus’ love, and all that.
This resonates, even though Lent is intended for sacrifice and February 14 is usually keyed to indulging in candy, more in line with Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, which immediately precedes Lent.
But I’ve heard enough Ash Wednesday and other Lenten sermons to make the case that indulging and sacrificing do not have to be that far apart. Traditionally, Christian believers tend to put aside a particular vice such as the chocolate that is a favored treat.
Perhaps you can make a sacrifice of your time to indulge the human need of personal connection. Maybe it’d be a visit to someone you hadn’t seen in a while. Or a handwritten letter, rather than email. Or an honest-to-goodness phone call, not merely a text.
Maybe you can do something for someone else. Random Acts Of Kindness Raise Dopamine Levels And Boost Your Mood. Being selfless can be a self-centered act.
And it does not need to be a large gesture. Opening a door… and giving advice are wonderful ways to give. “Anytime we step outside of ourselves long enough to help someone else, something wonderful is waiting for us when we return: the Happiness Trifecta neurochemicals are all boosted!”
When I was a kid, you could always tell which of your classmates were Catholic by their “dirty foreheads” on Ash Wednesday. But somewhere along the line, the mainline Protestant churches “gave up” on the rejection of this ritual and embraced it instead.
Here is vlogbrothers: “Two Love Stories”
If I could I would deliver to you
Diamonds and gold; it’s the least I can do
So if you’ll take my IOU
I could make it up to you
Until then I hope my heart will do
For Valentine’s Day