A Venn Diagram of Love: St. Valentine’s Day & Ash Wednesday

By Brittany Stewart

by Danielle Dolin

Like a beautiful Venn Diagram – perhaps shaped like a heart, 2024 is delivering an overlap of two Christian observances.  February 14th is Ash Wednesday, but also St. Valentine’s Day.

Normally, this day marks a time of truffles and fuzzy slippers with hearts; a day where the word Love is thrown around a lot.  So casually, that it insults such a great gift.  The truth is that come Wednesday, February 14th, we all should have a Christ-like love in our hearts.  One that mirrors the love St. Valentine had in his while he was imprisoned, and a love like Jesus wrote to his disciples as he prepared to die: “Love one another as I have loved you”.  John 15:12

The Christian roots of Valentine’s Day are often forgotten or overshadowed by the commercialization that has come with chocolate hearts and Hallmark greeting cards.  The truth is that St. Valentine was a Roman martyr whose feast day is February 14th.  He was a Catholic priest known for his kind heart and generosity.  There are many accounts of his history in prison.  Some told of him writing “Love letters” to couples he had married in Christian ceremonies contrary to Roman Law.  Others accounts skip to the part where he was persecuted by the Roman empire and killed for his Christian faith.

Auspiciously, February 14th marks the start of lent for many Christians.  The 40 day period, preceding Easter concludes on March 28th and encompasses prayer and fasting, symbolizing Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert.  As well as heart stickers on children’s faces symbolizing Love, many Christians mark the day with ashes on their foreheads representing both death and repentance.  Genesis 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

In observing Ash Wednesday, it is advised that you indulge prior to February 14th. For Catholics and many other Christians of other denominations, anyone ages 14 and up must abstain from consuming meat.  On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday: everyone age 18 to 59 must fast.

Perhaps the center of this tender hearted Venn Diagram is Love, itself.  We should appreciate the two events colliding.  A symbol of sacrifice and devotion to one’s faith and appreciation for the roots of tradition.  So, remind your family, your children, and your friends, that when they exchange tokens of Love, to do so with intention.  Treat your Loved ones with a purposeful token of appreciation and let them know they have a special place in your life.  This Valentine’s Day, reflect on the origin and try not to loosely throw around Love, as the holiday was intended for something filled with wonder, admiration, and something much more Christian.  Loving God and one another.


“Let all that you do be done in love.” – Corinthians 16:14

Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.

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