Editorial | Rose and ashes

TODAY is both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. These two special days dovetails perfectly, we think, because both affirm our existence on this earth. We live, love and return to ashes – the cycle of life completed.

The season of lent begins today and for Catholics and other Christians, the symbol is the ash on our forehead to show that we are committing to renew our baptismal vows that acknowledge our limitations and the promise to keep free from sin. We are reminded that “we are dust and to dust we shall return.” And that our efforts as we live and breathe today will someday be just ashes.

We are confronted with the reality that all material things have no meaning when we leave this life and that only the memory of who we are will carry on in the hearts of our family, friends and community. It is the love we give to them that lingers on.

Valentine’s Day has evolved into something commercial from its pagan history in the early ages. There are many stories surrounding St. Valentine, a priest who, one account says, was executed by Emperor Claudius II in the 5th century AD.

Through the years, it has become one of the special days where couples show their affection for each other. In ancient times, this day was held to welcome Spring and one of the rituals involved sacrificing an animal such as a dog or a goat and using its skin to whip women. This was said to increase their fertility.

Today, we give women roses to show how much they are appreciated and loved. Vendors stock up on chocolates and flowers like ham and queso de bola on Christmas. Restaurants and hotels are filled to capacity with lovers who want to celebrate their togetherness in romantic ways.

Since sending Valentine cards and romantic quotes have gone out of style, social media jumps in and gives virtual roses, hugs and kisses to everyone who has access to the internet.

Today we are given the chance for introspection. We were born out of love and when our time is done, we turn to ashes.


Posted in Opinion