February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris

Ash Wednesday is a day of heavy attendance in Churches around the word. Hey, even the Lutherans have a big turn-out today! After today, ask yourself, where is everybody? Between today and Easter where is everyone? Heck, between Easter and the other 364 days where is everyone?

Ask yourself: Where am I?

Today, is as good a day as any to come back and stay back.

Today, is a required day of fast and abstinence. The rules are here

I know some of you are muttering "Rules, I don't need no stinking rules" Listen Gold Hat, yes, you do. Rules maintain order and discipline over ourselves. In this case, the rules also serve to remind you of your inclusion in the community you profess to be a part of. While you are diving into that sandwich because you don't need rules, consider that your other brothers and sisters are willfully going hungry today. Your weakness makes us all weaker because as community we are only as strong as all of us together. That's why you hear people sneering: "None of my Catholic friends fast on Ash Wednesday so it can't be that big of a deal" When a few of us weaken our Faith, we make it harder for all of us. It's hard to be a community when we can't even have a united face of belief before our haters.

To deny ourselves for a single day is the LEAST we can do to honor the Sacrifice Jesus made for us.

Today, while a day of fast and abstinence, is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation: meaning, you are not required to go to Mass today and receive ashes. I find it ironic that a day that is not a required day of Mass attendance finds so many there; but days that are actually Holy Days of Obligation like the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception are so lightly attended. I do, however, rejoice that so many attend today. It tells me that the sense of the knowledge of personal sin is not dead.

However, receiving ashes at Mass today does NOT absolve you from sins that require Confession. While you are Mass today, it's a good a time as any to do an Examination of Conscience, look up your parish's Confession schedule and resolve to go as soon as possible. Father will help you if you are not sure what to do.

Father Robert Altier's booklet Examination of Conscience is a good resource. Small enough to fit in your purse or pocket, big enough for serious reflection. You can buy it at Leaflet Missal. Catholic Parents Online contains excerpts from the section of Father's booklet on mortal sin (the sins that definitely require Confession). You can read the excerpt here

May Lent bring you closer to Christ.

I will be offline all day Ash Wednesday.


Blogger ignorant redneck said...

I went and explained why I took ashes on Ash Wednesday.

It'a a trifle emabassing, but I had to say it out loud.

February 25, 2009 9:11 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I decidd on my penance: I'm only listening to the Jonas Brothers during Lent.

February 26, 2009 6:38 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ter: I could only top that if I decided to listen to only Lindsey Lohan, Hillary Duff, Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears, Christina Aquilara on shuffle. Over and over and over...

February 27, 2009 12:19 PM  

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