By Leslie Ann Aquino
Since this year’s Ash Wednesday falls on February 14 Valentines Day, Lingayen -Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has asked the faithful to use the opportunity to reflect on love and what it truly means.
“Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day gives us a good occasion to dig more deeply into the meaning of love as much as to correct kindly our wrong notions of love,” he said in a statement.
Villegas added that the real symbol of love is not Cupid with shooting arrow rather Christ hanging on the cross declaring in that action at Calvary that “There is not greater love than to die for your beloved”.
He went on to add that the real day of love is Good Friday.
And so this Season of Lent, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate reminded Catholics that the best way to express love is through sacrifice, prayer and giving.
Villegas said that’s why the fasting and abstinence that we do are not exercises of will power rather “acts of love.”
“We eat less so the hungry can have more. We enjoy less so those who suffer may receive some comfort,” he said.
Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat and items made with meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
Every person between the ages of 18 and 60 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Love is also best expressed by prayer, Villegas said, because prayer unites us with God.
He said love is also best shown by giving.
“It has been said that you can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. It has also been said that ‘We must love until it hurts’ but Ash Wednesday pushes us to heroism unto saying ‘Love until it no longer hurts’. Giving has become so much a part of you that you cannot live without giving. Let selfless giving become our second nature. Giving will not hurt anymore,” said Villegas.
Ash Wednesday signals the start of Lent, the season for Catholics especially to do good works, fast and pray.