And they will make their voice heard over you And will cry bitterly They will cast dust on their heads, They will wallow in ashes.-Ezekiel 27:30
This Valentine’s Day was a bit different for me. This year Valentine’s Day fell on Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. This morning I got up early to go to mass to receive the ashes that would mark my forehead. For the rest of the day there were people who were asking me about my ashes. Some people may find this to be offensive for me it was a reminder of God’s grace through humility and the blessing Jesus Christ bestowed on me when He died on the cross.
Every Ash Wednesday I am reminded by my priest that the ashes in a shape of a cross that we bear are a sign of humility. The ashes that were burned from the palms from last years Palm Sunday are brought back in the form of ash. When someone asks me about my ashes on my forehead I remind them that it is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. If someone asks why I didn’t wash off the ashes, I remind them that it is a part of my faith.
Wearing ashes on my forehead as part of my faith has not always been an easy thing. There were times when I went felt uncomfortable with wearing the ashes on my head. I was embarrassed to go out in public and I wished that I could just stay home for the rest of the day once I received the ashes on my forehead. As a teenager I was worried what everyone else would think of the ashes on my forehead. Even though mass would be at night and right after I would go home to take a shower to wash it off before school the next day, it wasn’t until I was truly easy. It was not until I was in college on an Ash Wednesday when I “got hit with the ashes” so to say, that I felt confident in wearing them. There were some people who forgot it was Ash Wednesday and they asked me what was on my forehead. On this day when I was either a freshmen or a sophomore I began to grow confident in my faith. Every time someone asked me the same question I began to feel better about wearing them. Each time I felt pride in my faith to show people that I was not afraid to be Catholic. Today I have no problem with answering the simple questions of the ashes I bear.
The more I thought about it as I wrote this blog post, I began to realize that Ash Wednesday has been about to help me build confidence in my faith and to trust God and His son Jesus Christ. I feel pride in letting people know that I am not afraid to show my love for Him. For without God’s mercy and Jesus’s love there would be nothing. In a few Fridays from now it will be Good Friday and many people will post John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets this phrase will pop up. However, the real question is how many people actually understand the real meaning behind those words? The one lingering and sad question is the last thought I have on Ash Wednesday.