The Quotable

May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!

~~Irish Blessing~~

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday, 2008,

On this first day of Lent I offer you this reflection taken from John Shea's Daybreaks, Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter.

Now Is the Time

Many Ash Wednesdays ago, my mother and I received ashes in the afternoon and headed directly to the mall to shop--real American religion. as we passed the permanent convention of teenagers gathered at the center of the mall, one of them saw the smudged foreheads and announced in a megaphone voice. "Hey! The Catholics are giving our ashes. Let's go."

There is something universal about Ash Wednesday. Although it is primarily a Catholic ritual, it appeals to many people. Even the unchurched may find themselves in line waiting to have someone's thumb blacken their forehead.

There are many reasons for this attraction, but I favor the explanation that ashes are a gentle reminder of our death and we welcome that gentle reminder. Although death is a constant companion, we do not have to think about it every day--but neither can we totally deny it. In the brief ritual of Ash Wednesday, we acknowledge our mortality in a way that does not debilitate us. Harsh reminders we push aside; gentle reminders we accept.

In fact, this ritual can embolden us. We are jolted out of drift, realizing our present life does not go on forever. It will end; and so we must make the most of it now. Time is the opportunity to love and we must seize it.

And so let us begin this holy season of fasting and prayer in JOY!!! We live because we have been saved. We can walk these Forty Days with family and friends knowing that our goal is the same, the continued celebration of our Salvation!


Thanks be to God!


  1. It's truly amazing how Ash Wednesday draws people to church - I've just written briefly about it on my blog.

    I think you're right,Cathy,it is a gentle reminder of death that cannot be avoided by anyone, but can be prepared for, so that we can approach it when the time comes in much the same way as we approach a loving father - unafraid.

  2. Indeed, unafraid! Thank you, Veritas!


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