Valentine’s Day: Cleric tells Christians what to do

A cleric, Monsgr Gabriel Osu on Friday advised Christians to emulate
the life of Jesus Christ, who was an example of sacrifice, purity and
selfless service to humanity as the Valentine Day approaches.

Osu, the Director of Social Communication, Catholic Archdiocese of
Lagos in a statement in Lagos, said that Valentine Day should teach us
about love and sacrifice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 2018 Feast of Saint
Valentine will be observed on Feb. 14.

On the same day, Christians are expected to start observing the 40-day
Lenten season which usually starts on Ash Wednesday.

Osu said that Ash Wednesday is one of the most important holy days in
the Catholic Church's calendar year.

"Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a season of fasting and
prayers and it includes wearing of ashes on the fore heads, which
symbolises that we are dust and to dust we shall return.

"Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday and is chiefly
observed by Catholics, though many other Christians observe it too,''
he said.

According to Osu, we believe strongly that a world devoid of true love
will be an empty world.

"We need genuine love all over the world to heal broken hearts and to
melt the heart of stones so that lasting peace may permeate the whole
of humanity,'' he said.

The cleric said that Valentine's Day should be about nurturing our
families and promoting the spirits of giving, sharing and sacrificing.

"The first Valentine sacrificed his life so that couples may be united.

"Also, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us to gain salvation; we
must be ready to make meaningful sacrifices in life,'' he said.

Osu said that this should apply to marriages to be successful.

He advised couples to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices for
their marriages to work, adding that this comes with lots of
responsibilities.

"It is not easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage.

"But most importantly, Valentine celebration should bring us closer to
the source of true love, Jesus Christ,'' Osu said.

He said that the Church frowned at a situation where secularism
appears to trivialise such a very important event that should be a
source of great joy to humanity.

"In the 18th Century England, the celebration of Valentine evolved
into an occasion where lovers expressed their love for each other
through the presentation of various gifts.

"These days, unfortunately, Valentine Day has been turned to a
money-making celebration with those in the entertainment and sundry
businesses smiling all the way to the banks.

"The essence of Valentine Day is true love. It is supposed to be a day
when real lovers reaffirm their love and genuine affection for one
another.

"It is not only for married couples; singles also partake in the
celebration by spreading what is called Agape love,'' Osu said. (NAN)
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