The Following explains the meaning of Ash Wednesday, taken from Catholic.org
Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words:
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God. Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance.
Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. Even non-Christians and the excommunicated are welcome to receive the ashes. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s palm Sunday Mass.
It is important to remember that Ash Wednesday is a day of penitential prayer and fasting. Some faithful take the rest of the day off work and remain home. It is generally inappropriate to dine out, to shop, or to go about in public after receiving the ashes. Feasting is highly inappropriate. Small children, the elderly and sick are exempt from this observance.
It is not required that a person wear the ashes for the rest of the day, and they may be washed off after Mass. However, many people keep the ashes as a reminder until the evening.
I was raised Catholic my whole life. My father especially always spoke about God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Always keeping that conversation handy. Especially whenever we were in the car. Probably because no one ate dinner at the dinner table never the less did we ever eat together.
I received most of my sacraments as it is required for the most part as a small child or pre-teen. Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Receiving of the Eucharist (Communion), and Marriage. Five of the Seven complete.
I no longer go to church. I cannot even remember the last time I went to church on a Sunday for Mass. Oh, wait Emma was a baby not even one yet so that would be less than 2 years. For some reason I felt a major pull to go to church that day, so we did. Since then I’ve only attended for Emma’s baptism and my godson Vinny’s baptism. Maybe there was a wedding in between there, I can’t remember. I sit here feeling no desire to attend Mass or to go to church.
Over the course of several years, I have lost touch with attending church and calling myself religious. I’ve thought it over many times and I think that I can relate more to being Agnostic. I cannot say that there is a God but I cannot say that there is not. I’ve been drilled my whole life to believe that undoubtedly there is a God so my heart still has not given up the the idea of one. Well, I can only assume that is why I cannot say 100% that I don’t believe in God, but I cannot blindly believe there is one either. So much I’ve come across disproves that idea leading my brain to not want to accept a God because he doesn’t exist. Do you see why I’m torn!??
Louis doesn’t even say anything regarding any of this and really just allows me to make any and all decisions regarding the way we raise the kids. He kinda just goes with my flow. (Pretty much that is the case with everything.) Sara and Matt have received the Eucharist and all 4 have been baptized. I still haven’t picked up a copy of Jacob’s birth certificate so that I can go register him to be baptized, but I do plan on doing that soon. My thoughts? It’s like an insurance plan, just in case. Because I would not want to be ‘wrong’ and my child be in limbo for an eternity. (Honestly, this sounds so laughable to me typing it out but again, just in case.) Another reason I still follow some of the sacraments when it comes to my children? My parents are still alive and I respect them enough to do what they want because they whole heartily believe and to me it doesn’t harm my child nor could it so why not. It’s not like it’s acid water right!?! (If anything, it’s just plan water like from out of a tap.)
I don’t agree with religion but I don’t hate it. I hate what some people do in the name of religion. If there is a God, I believe that he is in fact all loving and that includes all races, genders, regardless of sexual and gender identity and all religions. I don’t believe he would want anyone to cause another human being harm. Nor would he want us to hate each other and/or ban anyone from interacting with others. Hearing from a male who is just as human as the next guy and bleeds red blood just like anyone else tell you how to live and condemn those who don’t because a group of men wrote a book based on stories that have been passed down for hundreds of years and told over and over (telephone game anyone?!) that I do not agree with. Telling someone that the person they love is wrong and they are going to burn in hell for it is WRONG! Listen, if you are religious and believe that there is a God and you follow the rules of your religion that’s great but you CANNOT tell others that your religion is the only way! That your religion/beliefs are law. That anyone who doesn’t follow your religion and live their life as it deems right is going to burn in hell. Well guess what?? If this person isn’t hurting you, your child or anyone else, let them be. If they in fact burn in hell, they’ll burn in hell. Worry about yourself and you’ll rejoice in heaven along side your glorious all loving and forgiving God. You cannot save others from condemning themselves nor should you. Worry if they harm others, not themselves when it comes to breaking one of Gods Laws. (And I’m not speaking about killing, cheating or stealing what isn’t yours.) We can have morales without religion. It’s called common sense.