Each year that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, in Lent, we witness the lunacy of dispensations so that people don’t have to do their regular Friday, lenten penance.
This year, the Feast of St. Valentine – transmogrified, commercialized and warped by big business into something nearly perverse – coincides with Ash Wednesday, one of only two days remaining in the Church year when most Catholics are bound to both fasting and abstinence.
The UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, has a piece about how this year Catholics are bound to fast and abstain on Ash Wednesday – St. Valentine’s Day insanity notwithstanding.
Catholic in good health aged 18 to 59 must fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday. They may eat one full meal, supplemented by two smaller meals that together do not equal the full meal.
If you have been successfully programed and pressured through incessant advertising into a secular observance of St. Valentine’s Day, perhaps you can shift your observance to the day before Ash Wednesday, Shrove Tuesday.
Yes, I think that would work well. After all, “shrive” (whence, “shrove”) means both to present oneself for sacramental confession and, for the priest, to absolve a penitent.
So, by all means, this year, anticipate your celebration of St. Valentine’s Day on the day before Ash Wednesday and…
GO TO CONFESSION!