“Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” Gn. 3:19
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. (Joel 2:13)
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day on which the faithful have their foreheads signed with ashes in the form of a Cross. It is also a day of fast and abstinence.
Why and when did the Church begin this practice of signing our foreheads with ashes in the form of a Cross?
The liturgical use of ashes originated in the Old Testament times. Ashes symbolized mourning, mortality and penance. In the Book of Esther, Mordecai
put on sackcloth and ashes when he heard of the decree of King Ahasuerus to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (Esther 4:1). Job repented in sackcloth and ashes (Job 42:6). Prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, Daniel wrote, “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).
Jesus made reference to ashes, “If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, they would have reformed in sackcloth and ashes long ago” (Matthew 11:21).
In the Middle Ages, the priest would bless the dying person with holy water, saying, “Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.” The Church adapted the use of ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, when we remember our mortality and mourn for our sins. In our present liturgy for Ash Wednesday, we use ashes made from the burned palm branches distributed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. The priest blesses the ashes and imposes them on the foreheads of the faithful, making the sign of the cross and saying, “Remember, man you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven.
We will have Mass on Ash Wednesday, March 1st
at 7:00 p.m.
at St. Cecilia CES in the gym.
Do come and join us.
I wanted to Thank You and Everyone in our Parish Family for all of your support and kindness.
Thank you as well to those who came to the dinner. As you know – Laura made ‘pup-cakes’ for Leo; it was so special.
We had all of Leo’s friends from Zooland and Montessori laughing as Laura and I told them all of the stories and funny things he did. AND here’s the best part – I’ve always wanted to write my own children’s story; so I’m going to try to do one for Leo.
“The Clown that Should be King”
If I was Prince William I would dress up like a clown when I became King and become a clown dictator ordering everyone around and say things like:
“You must do everything I say; but only if you want to…”
“You will eat your chocolate cake and you will like it! Or I will make you have Ice Cream too!”
“What kind of bumbling fool would do such a thing; make sure he does it again – that was hilarious”
For the last 3 days poor Laura and I have been going nuts trying to get ‘everything’ done in time – so whenever she was panicking and freaking out I would say, “LAURA! We have to follow the plan; can we please just stick to the plan?”
Otherwise, she would start crying and say things like, “But Dad! We can’t do that now, because we have to go to Longo’s first to get the Cake Mix and Icing before you take me home to get the muffin pans and… and… and…”
“Ok, Laura,” I would say, “you’re right, we will just have to change the plan… or I guess we need a new plan…”
And then who ever happened to be with us, Laura’s God Mother or a friend or neighbour or even my mother would ask, “Why didn’t you just tell me you were going to do that now? I didn’t know that you made up a plan, we could have met you there, before you and… and… and…”
Then at just the right moment I would say, “Because there is no plan!” Then Laura and I would burst out laughing every time because what people didn’t know was that I had told Laura that it was going to be impossible to plan anything and that we would just have to try very, very hard to get it all done, that included her ‘Pup Cakes’.
The amazing thing was that we were able to get everything done and more to make it special for Leo! Everything was perfect and went exactly the way we knew it would and had planned it, all along 😉
At the dinner reception I told many the story about Laura and our secret ‘plan’ – and then added this to the story about the ‘Clown that should be King’:
The Clown King demands to know who has the plan?
“Which plan, the new plan or the old plan?”
Oh foolish Clown and King of Plans, I guess you will have to change the plan.
“But it’s not my plan you fools, I’m a Clown King, not the real thing!” he protested. “I don’t make plans! You must make the plans and you must follow them; so I can change them before you can make them. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!”
“Oh great preposterous King of Clowns – There is NO PLAN! We never make plans, because that’s how we plan everything.”
We all had a good laugh! And cried a little too.
Thank you Chris and Matthews family for sharing your life and your faith with us. Your examples of faith and trust in God have been truly an inspiration for us all…
I once saw a giant billboard in the US that said,
“If you ever want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
It is true. We make plans, but God has the final say. We cannot always see what God is trying to do with, or in our lives, but let us place our trust in Him knowing that in His infinite wisdom, God does know what He is doing, and one day, we too shall know and understand.