that I have a piece on the weird juxtaposition of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday up over at the Catholic Weekly:
Still and all, the strange juxtaposition of Ash Wednesday–replete with reminders of death, self-abnegation, ashes, and fasting—with Valentine’s Day and its chocolates, lovey-dovey mush, and romance is actually strangely Christian.
Jesus, after all, calls himself the Bridegroom and, after his forty days of Lenten fasting in the desert, inaugurates his whole ministry at a wedding. Indeed, the nuptial imagery that suffuses the gospels constantly speaks of the kingdom of heaven as a wedding banquet. When Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman, the whole conversation between her and the Messianic Bridegroom is about marriage. And Jesus’ apostle Paul will liken the Church to a bride in contrast to the Bridegroom. Marriage language is all over the place in gospel.
Much more at the link!