Because I’m a convert, I have to know the reason for everything. It’s what converts do.
HAPPY ASH WEDNESDAY! I was able to attend Mass this morning – all by my lonesome – at 6:30 this morning. I love my husband. Fr. Danny’s message was exactly what my heart needed to hear. It brought me focus and intention.
This was sweet Clare three years ago!
TOP TEN: THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MARDI GRAS AND LENT
1. Mardi Gras is French for “Fast Tuesday.” It’s probably the reason why you hear about all the revelrie. Our sweet friends in Italy celebrate Carnival on that day.
2. The Mardi Gras masks people wear are supposed to depict the vice you’re giving up for Lent. Hmmm, that gives one pause to think. What would your mask look like today?
3. The bead tradition, just where did it come from? Priests used to walk the streets, handing out rosaries to people in preparation for Lent. It’s too bad that tradition has turned so lewd in New Orleans and other places.
4. Ah, why do Catholics wear ashes today? As the ashes are applied to people’s foreheads today, they hear the words: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” This is our reminder of our mortality and the need for ongoing repentance. Lent is a time for us to strip away all the junk and focus our hearts on God. A “retreat of sorts” as Fr. Danny mentioned this morning.
5. The ashes come from palms used at the previous year’s Palm Sunday Masses. They are burned, sprinkled with Holy Water and then become our Lenten ashes.
6. You can wash your ashes off your face anytime after Mass, but most of us tend to wear them all day.
7. Even though today is not a Holy Day of Obligation, for many parishes it’s one of the largest turnouts of the parish community throughout the year. I think that’s pretty awesome. And, I think it speaks to the fact that people want to be part of a community. People really are yearning to grow in their relationship with Christ. Be bold today. When someone asks about your ashes, tell them!
8. Lent officially ends on Holy Thursday, as we prepare for the Easter Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. But that’s another blog post.
9. There are around 40 days of Lent, beginning with today and ending on Holy Thursday. The days are symbolic of the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and the 40 days Christ was in the wildnerness and was tempted by Satan.
10. At parishes, all Holy Water is removed from the baptismal font and the church is stripped of most of its decorations, flowers, etc. Again, symbolic of the sacrifice we make during the Lenten season.
There you have it, a few things you may (or may not) have known about this season of Lent.