This year Lent begins on February 14th, traditionally the feast of St. Valentine. Some say the early Christian martyr became associated with love because he married Christians in secret to defy the Roman Emperor. However it happened, February 14th means date night, roses, chocolate, and this year ashes and fasting too. See below for some ideas on how to honor Ash Wednesday with your valentine.
A Soup Supper or Fish Fry
Odds are some local parish is hosting a meatless soup potluck or fish fry fundraiser. If not, you can host one at home. You and your date can share with the community and friends in marking the beginning of Lent with an appropriately meatless and simple meal.
One Small Meal that does not Equal Half a Full Meal
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstienence. But who says you can’t go out to eat? Just keep your portions meatless and small. You’ll even save on the bill.
Mass and Fasting
If saints can subsist on the Eucharist perhaps you can subsist on the Eucharist and each others’ company? Though it’s not a day of obligation, it is still a pius practice to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday.
Even if you can’t attend the same Mass or ash distribution service as your beloved, you can still decide whose forehead looks more like a cross and whose didn’t quite take shape. You can even walk the streets and see how many different shapes and sizes you can find together.
A Rosary Walk or Outdoor Stations of the Cross
Praying the Stations of the Cross is a great way to observe the beginning of Lent. The Sorrowful Mysteries, of course, are also appropriate for the day. Either way, praying outdoors can be extra penitential if you live in a cold region.
Bread and Water Picnic
Perhaps you and your beloved need a little substanance. Why not enjoy a local park with plain water and a nice loaf? In all seriousness, bread and water is an extreme and austere fast that’s not for everyone.
A Steak House…and Ordering Salads
A great way to begin the season of penitence with your beloved. You can contemplate your wretched estate while you watch the T-bones and filet mignon pass by. Great practice for rejecting the comforts of the world this Lenten season.
An Irish Pub
When my husband and I were dating the same weird liturgical mashup of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day ocurred. Our date was to an Irish pub. You’ll likely find a fish and chips special or perhaps a potato soup though you may want to skip the Guiness, it’s Lent afterall.