|Happy Chocolate Day!|
"Hi honey! Look what I got you! A lovely box of chocolates for you to look at and offer up!" If your honey is not devout, trust that she will grab them and shut the door on you, and not talk with you the rest of the day. If she is devout, she may give you a blank stare. If she is VERY devout, she may accept them and then hide them away immediately, because it is an unnecessary near occasion of sin.
"WHAT!" You ask. "Chocolate is an 'unnecessary near occasion of sin'? Since when?" To which I shall reply, "...since it is 2018, and this year, (St.) Valentine's Day happens to fall on (*drum roll, please*)...
|(Don't forget to pin your fringe back on Ash Wednesday.)|
Regardless of how devout your other half seems to be, Lent is a time to reflect on the higher reality that encompass every day of every year: that this life is not the end, but merely intended to be the means. And since (the one, true, triune) God is the source and means to love, it makes more sense that we take advantage of the fact that the feast and fast coincide. And since the fast of Ash Wednesday is an OBLIGATION, and of course, in case you didn't already know, the celebration of the martyr is not (an obligation), let's consider some ways in which it makes sense to celebrate, even on a day of Fast:
|"Jesus loves you, and to dust you shall return!"|
1.) PRAY TOGETHER. You can pray the Compline the night before. You can even offer to do it certain days throughout Lent, or if you are married, pray it every night of Lent (if you're not already praying it every night).
2.) PRAY FOR HIM/HER. Offer to Our Lord or Our Lady a set of prayers during a Novena, or throughout Lent, on behalf of your loved one.
3.) MAKE AN ACT OF MORTIFICATION. In addition to your Lenten mortification, you may add an additional, small mortification on behalf of the spiritual progress of your loved one. Write this in a note and add it to a card.
4.) DO A LENTEN LECTURE. You can do this either together or even separate, because if you grow in holiness from it, your loved one benefits, as well. Also, you can do one together and if you're not able to be together due to distance or schedule conflicts, you can do one together that is pre-recorded. You can even discuss what you each will take away personally. If you are married, you may wish to take it a step further, and ask that your spouse help you with specific areas in your progress, and tell them how they can help (but be specific).
5.) HAVE A MASS SAID. Have your priest say a Mass on behalf of your loved one, for his/her spiritual and temporal needs, and for a holy, fruitful Lent.
6.) SPIRITUAL READING. Buy a book or a few books for spiritual reading during Lent. It is always good to read the lives of the saints, but also to read about progress in virtue and in the spiritual life. Also, writings of the saints, especially the Church Fathers and Doctors, is always a good way to learn the faith, or deepen your knowledge of the faith from what you think you know now. Some of the spiritual readings can be done together, or separately, and then on certain days of the week (i.e.: Saturday or Sunday), you can get together to discuss what you've read, and what you will take away personally from it. Some of these writings can even be found for free online.
7.) MAKE AN OFFERING TO OUR LADY. Our Lady takes care of both the spiritual and temporal needs of her children by her intercession to her son. Asking for her help for not just yourself, but also for your loved one, is a very good gift any time, but especially for a fruitful Lent.
8.) GIVE A HOLY IMAGE. You can print some beautiful images from online that are in the public domain, and give them for gifts (for the use of educational purposes and/or private viewing), and even get the image blessed. These would best be images in keeping with the Lenten theme, and will be useful for medications during that time.
9.) GIVE SACRAMENTALS, especially ones that can be used frequently throughout Lent. This is a nice "add on" type of gift. Perhaps a holy card of St. Valentine, along with the story of his martydom, would be fitting?
+AD JESUM PER MARIAM+