I had no intention of discussing Lent today nor its meaning..But it happened anyway..Not within the confines of things I can control..It just happened..Funny thing IS it happened while simply explaining to someone I couldn’t keep my committment to work out due to it being Ash Wednesday..Little did I know that would lead to an entire text chat defending my Catholic Faith..Are y’all ready for this? Hold onto to your caps, hats, wigs and weaves because here I GO>>
I’ve no issue with defending my Faith..But I’ve also no issue admitting I don’t like being put in a position to have to! I don’t ask anyone else to defend their Faith and I don’t take kindly to feeling I have to defend mine..But I shall if I and when I have to..Any day 24/7 365 days of the year. I am Black and I am Catholic. Period. And there is no other religion I’d rather practice and be a pupil of; other than the first. Catholicism. >>
I don’t critique other religions. I feel everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they desire..I also feel folks that do NOT have a clue about a certain practice of religion, other than speculation or hearsay, should never ever speak as IF they’ve got knowledge of a certain religion. I’ve no problem with answering questions about the religion I’m apart of..But when you a. step to me and act as if you know all about Catholicism but come across as not knowing the first thing about it. OR b. step to me with nothing but hearsay and wrong assumptions OR c. step to me quoting me Bible scripture that you think counter the Catholic religion…My interest level wains from the inception and so does my respect level for you. Instantly. >>
Before I go any further I’d like to profess I don’t think nor feel I’m a Bible thumping over righteous type of Christian who bangs folks over the head with my religion nor my Faith…I’ll never show up at your front door trying to convert you to Catholicism. I even sometimes wonder if there are so many things considered SINS in Catholicism that I’m forever destined to be a sinner. (after all we were born sinners..) Though I practice celibacy until my next marriage(OMG that’s tough) it is said even lusting or thinking about SEX is a SIN outside of marriage..IF that is truly the case then I’ve certainly got strikes against me! ..For I’m not of the belief I have ‘credit’ with God; no matter how good I treat people in my day-to-day life. But I’ll try not to stray to far from my point>>
All of that said today was the first day in my entire life I told someone google UP what Ash Wednesday Mass meant to Catholicism ..I’d tired of texting the reasons..And just in case I left anything out, I figure I’ll give it my best shot here. For I believe a lot of folks , even practicing Catholics, might not know what the intent is behind Ash Wednesday. We’re all learning and there is nothing wrong with learning a little bit more & truly understanding the age-old rituals>>
Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). [This traditional ennumeration does not precisely coincide with the calendar according to the liturgical reform. In order to give special prominence to the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord's Supper, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) the current calendar counts Lent as only from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, up to the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Even so, Lenten practices are properly maintained up to the Easter Vigil, excluding Sundays, as before.]Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told
“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.
The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.
Hopefully none of you will have to answer a litany of questions about practicing Lent(and from a friend no less..) but IF you are I’m prayerful my rant can give you the the info you need..Or , even more importantly, motivate you to learn more about your Catholic Faith. Bottom line as Believers we’re all brothers/sisters in Christ..And at the beginning and end of each day that is what should matter in our interpersonal relationships..Not what religion we practice. Until I read/write y’all again stay UPlifted and blessed,Berna(the 1 & Only)