Today my family and I attended Mass at Garrett’s school. Today is Ash Wednesday so to all of you who celebrate it, Happy Ash Wednesday. So I have not always been a big Ash Wednesday attender I must admit and yes I have been known to “accidently” rub some off so it’s not so dark. So you know how Karma get’s ya, These are my ashes this year…yea that’s what ya call a first swipe!
This was the first year Matthew realized about ashes and came back to sit in our pew and said, why do I have dirt on my face? Well in an effort to explain it to him, I told him it was because we are not always good boys and girls and it is to remind us of that and that we need to be good.
For those of you who think we are all wierd freaks running around with crap on our heads and would like a more adult description here is a great post from Fallible Blogma.
Many people, including Catholics themselves, have no idea why we walk around on Ash Wednesday with dirty black smudges on our foreheads.
First, it’s not a smudge. It’s supposed to be a cross drawn with ash. However, some of the people administering the ashes are a little better artists than others. Either way, it gets the job done.
Second, the ashes represent our mortality and are an outward sign of our sinfulness.
But why would anyone want to be reminded of this?
Perhaps because it’s true. We are indeed mortal – we are dust, and to dust we shall return (Gen 3:19). We are sinful too. And in a world that constantly says “if it feels good, do it” and suggests that a guilty conscience is just one more thing we need a prescription for, we definitely need this healthy dose of reality.
There is something much more important that must go along with this, though. It always helps to put everything we do in the Church in context with the most important event – the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter.
In this case, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent which is preparation for Easter. And real preparation for Easter isn’t done with travel plans, fervor over the Sunday afternoon meal, and a resolution to eat less chocolate. It’s done in your soul.
When we look in the mirror on Ash Wednesday and see that black smudge on our forehead, we should be reminded that, no matter what, we are still sinners in need of constant conversion. It is the Church calling us back once again to the graces of our baptism, to do penance, and amend our lives as we approach the greatest celebration in the Church – Easter.
So don’t wear your ashes proudly, but make sure you wear them…and wear them humbly.
So this year I am wearing my dark ashes proundly, to the grocery store, to the neighbors and anywhere else I go today, I am proud to be a Christian and proud to be Catholic. BTW I am a convert, I grew up Southern Baptist… shocked yet? If you hae any questions like “Why do Catholics worship Mary?” (and we don’t) I will be glad to answer them the best I can, ask away
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