Catholics everywhere are talking about it. “Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are on the same day this year. What do we DO?” No worries. The answer is actually pretty simple. We just haven’t had to worry about this since 1945, and the coinciding of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day won’t happen again until 2024. In the meantime, here’s a lighthearted (but earnest) guide on how to celebrate like a Catholic this February 14th.
Most Catholics can rattle off a list of who they consider to be the ten most popular saints. The lists would vary, of course, but would most likely contain many of the same names. There are some saints, however, who are so famous that they are known around the world—not only to Catholics, but to people of all beliefs (or no particular beliefs at all). This is a beautiful example of how holiness draws souls who are fascinated by it, even if they don’t understand why.
Do you know who the patron saint of marriage is? Actually, that’s a bit of a trick question, because there’s more than one. Some are patrons of specific situations within marriage, which might make one of them in particular a very fitting intercessor for your needs:
There is a reason why Christmas is called a season. It does not last for a single day. After Easter, it is the most important liturgical feast in the Church calendar. Why? Because Christmas is what made Easter possible. Without Our Lord’s incarnation and birth, our redemption would not have been brought to completion, and there would be no hope for us in our fallen state.
So first, we celebrate the octave of Christmas. This means that there are eight official solemn days of rejoicing. In the language of the Church, the word “solemn” does not mean what our common use of the word defines it as. It doesn’t mean being grim, serious, or morose.
According to a simple definition: “In the Catholic Church year, a solemnity is the highest ranking holy day possible in the Church calendar…” These are days that are emphasized by particular joy, lavishness, pomp, and glory.
Back in 1995, my mom was a young mother with five children. (There are nine of us now.) It was a time of life that was truly testing her limits. She was stretched thin as a wife and mother, trying to raise us while my dad, who worked very long hours, came home late in the evening and usually missed dinner. Money was tight for them, so while all her “mom friends” were able to participate in certain events and activities, my mom was never able to join them.
Received by Francis and his friars at the Portiuncula, she knelt before him, laid aside her fine jewels, and had her hair shorn by the hand of the Little Poor Man. Her golden locks fell to the ground. She exchanged her sumptuous dress for a rough tunic and a humble veil. Then Saint Francis placed her with some Benedictine nuns for safekeeping.
Although she is not well known just anywhere, knowledge of Saint Philomena seems to be steadily growing. Catholics around the world are discovering her and becoming fervently devoted. Saint Philomena was martyred under the reign of Diocletian around 300 A.D. For more than fifteen hundred years, she became an unknown martyr, joining the numbers of beautiful but nameless souls who had died for Christ. But it seems that Jesus wanted to share her with the world.
Understanding the temperaments is important is because your temperament has a crucial place in your spiritual life. It can greatly affect your growth as you seek to draw closer to the Heart of Christ. This kind of self-knowledge will help you to know where your strengths are as well as your weaknesses; it gives you more accurate self-knowledge.
Our prayer life is a continuing journey. Each word uttered to God in the silence of our hearts is a step towards Him. The Way of Saint James is a source of inspiration to us. But Jesus Himself is the True Way, a Way that all of us are called to follow. To pray the rosary is to meditate on the life of Christ. Mary will lead us to Him, and through the power of this prayer, we will find ourselves on The Way and in the arms of Truth Himself.
“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother,” said Saint Therese of Lisieux. Only a mother knows the depth of her love for her children. She is a beautiful reflection of God’s love for us. Each soul was created by Him, and is His child. And since a mother wants the best for her children, this means that, ultimately, she wants them to be with God in heaven one day, rejoicing eternally.