Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tomorrow Begins The Season Of Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which in the Catholic Church is a day of fasting and abstinence that marks the beginning of Lent. Practicing Catholics will go to mass and receive a sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads to remind them that they come from dust and to dust they will return. The ashes are from the burning of the palms from last year's Palm Sunday. Most often these days, the ashes are ordered from companies that supply liturgical items for Catholic churches. So they will come in little containers that help keep everything neat and easy to distribute.

Catholics are ususally easy to spot on Ash Wednesday and are used to people letting them know that they have "dirt" on their forehead. To Catholics this day marks the beginning of 40 days of prayer and preparation for Easter. Abstaining from meat on Fridays is only a portion of what we do to prepare. Many people sacrifice during Lent something important to them. Other people will try to do more for others. The whole point is to focus on prayer, repentance, and sacrifice and to go beyond what we would normally do to acknowledge Christ's sacrifice for us.

Normally during Lent there are extra daily masses. I like to make as many of the lunchtime masses as I can. But I also like the quiet morning masses. There is something comforting and peaceful about morning mass. It is a good way to start the day. It is too bad that I don't take advantage of it more often during the rest of the year.

So if you see any "dirty" foreheads tomorrow, be sure to wish them a meaningful Lent. And don't forget that Passover comes just before Easter this year. It is a day that should be meaningful to Christians and Jews alike. Shalom! Peace be with you!


frustratedwriter said...

Not being Catholic I am not privvy to protocol... do I wish you a happy Ash Wednesday or do I mumble my apologies when I'm eating steak on Friday? I do hope you have a meaningful Lent.

PBS said...

I remember getting smudged on the forehead as a child. Other kids would ask about it.

Cliff Morrow said...

I'm hoping against hope that mice and rats are considered 'meat'.

ProfessorGQ said...

I'm not Catholic, but I am giving up fast food restaurants for lent.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I'm giving up meat. I was always proud of my smudge on Ash Wed.

Jim said...

Mrs. Jim is from Louisiana. She taught me about he smudge, I thought it was dirt at first.
I missed your critters today.

Tropical Screamer said...

Even though I'm not Catholic, I used to love to go to morning mass with my best friend during Jr. High and High School.

She used to give up candy for Lent every year and I'd join her.

I hope Lent is meaningful this year for you and that you enjoy the extra time to reflect.