Christians have been strongly advised to focus on praying even on Valentine’s Day.
In the face of the temptations that lovers’ day brings, Pastor Ezekiel Aremu of Praise Assembly, Tanke, Ilorin, is encouraging Nigerians to still remain focused on serious prayers.
Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin on February 13, 2018, the Man of God said: “Instead, Nigerians should seek for God’s intervention on the state of the nation."
“This is not the time to over celebrate; we all know it is Valentine’s Day when gifts are exchanged and love expressed to special people in our lives.
“It is expected to be a low key celebration with Nigerians praying for the good of the nation.
He added: “Merrymaking is not the answer, rather prayer is the answer.”
Pastor Aremu took it a step further by advising Nigerians on how to celebrate this day of love.
According to the cleric, people should give to the less fortunate in honor of St Valentine, who was a philanthropist.
“St. Valentine is an embodiment of love and deserves to emulate.
“The rich should give to the poor and the poor should also stretch to people below them,’’ he said.
This year, both Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday, a Holy day, fall on February 14th.
The interesting thing is that this is not the first time this has happened. The same thing first occurred 60 years ago, in 1945.
In light of this rare occurrence, Catholic priests have issued reminders advising people not to get distracted by Valentine's day.
A Catholic priest, Rev. Father, Eugene Irobmez, says Ash Wednesday “ is a day of obligation when Christians are encouraged to fast and abstain from meat, a day of obligation supersede Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day is not a feast of solemnity, but it is a memorial day; a day to be remembered. So, in this case, solemnity supersedes Memorial Day.
“Since it is a day to show love, showing of love can be celebrated any other day like on Sunday because we do not usually fast on Sundays. You cannot reconcile a sober period with a day of celebration; when a priest gives ashes to people, it signifies that you should remember that we are dust, unto dust, we shall return.
“The life we have now is temporal, there is a final destination for everyone which we have to prepare for because the day is close.”
Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in New York adds: “The thing I hope we don’t do is grumble, to complain that the church has ruined Valentine’s Day. There’s joy in Ash Wednesday.
“There’s joy in Lent. It’s not just the purging the souls of our sins, though there’s an element of that. I don’t want us to be mad that the church has ruined Valentine’s Day.”
How are you coping with the Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday dilemma?