No, this is not of picture of my head after falling off the Hopslam wagon, nor is it the latest cover from a Goth Rock Band, it's the ashes given as a sign of the cross on Ash Wednesday that officially begins the lent season. Many Christian religions observe this ritual. I woke up too late and bleary eyed and missed the first Ash Wednesday Mass; however, I have four more to choose from. You see, in the Catholic Church more Masses are given for Ash Wednesday than for Easter or Christmas. Is there a story there? I think so. It's our morbid since of self that we all too often give honor to, even when we think it is the right thing to do. Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the ritual, believing rituals are necessary for us to have order. It is how we interpret the ritual and its meaning that gets so messy. Like all good Catholics I used to focus all my energy on what to give up: chocolate, beer, sex, etc...The question is, what good did that do for me, and more importantly for those around me. It is a focus of scarcity, which is truly selfish, and not one of abundance that Christ demands from us. Instead of focusing on what you can't do, give extra energy this lent to what you can do, or should do. God said he does not want sacrifice, but a contrite heart and spirit. One that is open to him, not focused on the self. I take the ashes today to remind me of how much more I should be living and not for how much closer I am to dying. So this lent, live and love. You just might be the light that is missing in this black cold darkness we call lent. Besides, the fish need a break and the beef farmers need our support.
Sir Hook "the Black Light" of Warrick
P.S. Just to clarify why Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter always seem different. It is based on the Gregorian Calendar, which is based on other ancient calendars. Easter is actually determined by two distinct occurrences that are slightly less embraced by fundamental Christians: The Spring Equinox and a Full Moon. That's right, each year Easter is selected as the Sunday of the First Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. You back up 40 days from there and the Wednesday before those 40 days is Ash Wednesday. So mankind has been celebrating this great Feast for thousands of years. Unity through Diversity!