This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the season of Lent. And, for Catholics a day of Holy Obligation (ya gotta go to church) . . . a day to receive ashes on your forehead.
Ashes have traditionally been a public symbol of atonement. And that is their purpose in this Catholic tradition – a public display of faith, of recognition that we are, by nature, sinful and that we are truly sorry for our actions.
I was again asked to help distribute the ashes. As you can see Father got a bit carried away with the old thumb/ashes this year. Our phrase as we placed ashes on the forehead was “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel?” There are days I find that a tall order.
And that is the intent of Lent, to provide the faithful a time of reflection, of study, of atonement prior to the events of the season – Palm Sunday, Good Friday and His crucifixion and death and finally His resurrection and appearance to those He loved.
I see myself as a man of faith. I have no doubt of the existence of God. And I have no doubt of the birth of Christ or the events of His life. I do, however, struggle mightily with the “why” of it. Why would a being with ability to create worlds and universes with a simple thought find enough value in our so very small corner of the universe to offer a sacrifice for our salvation? This I struggle with. Reduce that to my own individual salvation – that I do not understand . . .
I have been granted yet another season of reflection . . . to once again hear the words, hear the command and to do my very best to comply . . . to leave sin behind and to fully embrace the Gospel in my life.
It is a direct challenge by to Church to me . . . to us . . . to strive to be the very best person we can be. I will once again encourage you all to take a few moments daily to sit and ponder where you are in your life. To realize that He truly knows you, loves you and is more than willing to grant any assistance you need.
And I will yet again attempt to come to an understanding of the “why” of it all . . .
One day down the road I want to have a Diet Coke with Him, to be granted time to hear from His own lips the “why” of it all . . . and to thank Him for the love and compassion He has shown me throughout my life . . .
It is a gift He grants us all . . .