Happy Ash Wednesday. Can You SAY That?! « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowHappy Ash Wednesday. Can You SAY That?!

Happy Ash Wednesday. Can You SAY That?!
Published on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 by

Today marks the beginning of Lent.  I was a good girl and went to church during lunch to get my ashes.  It brought back memories of years gone by, including my early years in Catholic school.

Waiting in line with your classmates to get your ashes, hands perfectly clasped together.  Slowly making it towards the priest, one step after another.  And then it is your turn.  You panic as you realize you aren’t sure what you are supposed to say.  The ashes are placed on your forehead in the sign of a cross.  Tiny specks of ash gently float to your eyelashes.  Then back to the pew for reverent prayers.  Prayers that in reality are quick whispers to your friends.

“Psst, is mine big?  Wow, look at yours!  Mine goes all the way up to my hair!  Oh look at Maria’s – it fell on to her cheek!  Shhh shhhh, Sister is looking!”

In those days, no one seemed to question your ashes.  But today, it is constant.  “You have dirt on your forehead.”  “Hey, wipe off your forehead.”  Or even worse, someone goes to WIPE it off of your forehead.  And then there are the ones who stare, seeing “dirt” on your forehead, letting you walk away without a quick word to protect you from embarrassment.

I wonder if I simply live in a more religiously diluted world, making Catholics and their ashes a rarity?  Or are fewer Catholics actually going to get their ashes?  Or maybe more people are going at night, as they work during the day and can’t get out to church until later.

All I know is the priest got me GOOD this year.  And honestly, church by myself at lunch was incredibly moving.  It’s too easy to get caught up in every day problems.  I needed the quiet time today.  And the memories of childhood years gone by.

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  • Wow, that priest smeared your forehead! I’m not catholic but I am always aware of Ash Wednesday and seeing catholics after having been ashed. I think you’re right that the world is religiously very diluted. And what a pity.

    • Buggys, I really do miss my childhood religion… things have changed so much. I wish my kids could experience the “old school” Mass. The neat thing about their Catholic school is they learn about other religions too… a good thing!

  • I once rubbed off the ashes from a boyfriends face (in front of his mother). What did a dumb jewish girl know from ashes???

    • Mrs. Blogalot – that’s OK, I have accidentally said Merry Christmas to Jewish people, and I once said I had a Kosher kitchen due to my child’s allergies, and was scolded by my Jewish boss. So I think we deserve a few ash rubbings! LOL!

  • If you catch someone staring at your forehead, just say, “Happy Ash Wednesday!” with a really big smile. They will either register a look of recognition or think you’re a weirdo. Either way, it’s a win. 🙂

  • Paula J. Guzman

    No, your little smudge is nothing. Mine was a deliberate huugge cross from the top of my forehead to the top of the bridge of my nose. As I left church I said to the Priest, “thank you for such a generous portion of ashes,and I smiled as I shook his hand.” He smiled back and said, “yea, I did get you and everyone real good, didn’t I?” He said this with a big grin. He is young and everything he does he does big.

  • Jen

    You look all badass with those ashes and shades. I remember getting them in high school but since I am not Catholic I don’t get them now, though I think our Episcopal church does the same thing. It’s been so long since I have been to church for anything besides a funeral.

  • Happy Ash Wednesday!

  • I never thought about how people look at the ashes now, but you are right more people tend to want to wipe them off now because they don’t know the meaning behind them. Thanks for the for your post.

  • OMG You just gave me flashbacks of Sister Rosare glaring at me and my friends from the front pew at St. Pius.

    I think nowadays there are just so many different religions mixed together in smaller areas. For example, in my small neighborhood, about 1 mile long and 2 miles wide – there are 3 synagogues, 1 catholic church, 1 presbytarian church, one episcapol church and something with a bunch of initials that I don’t really understand but people dress up on Sundays and go there. Hoe much does one religion understand another? I’m a Catholic married to a Muslim and I never had a clue about the Muslim religion until I met my hubby.

  • I don’t think things are religiously diluted as much as more mingled. Catholics used to be more segregated from the rest of the populations (catholic neighborhoods, etc). Now they let us into normal society :). Because of that, there are more people who have no idea why you have a dirty forehead.

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