February 22, 2012
Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down
First a word of warning here; I rarely if ever discuss religion, politics or the like in public because I don’t like making people feel uncomfortable with me. It’s bad enough that I have to battle shyness when I’m in public, but the last thing I want in untoward attention on me, especially of the bad kind! This post today is about Ash Wednesday and my family’s faith, so if you don’t feel comfortable reading, please don’t feel like you’re offending me because I meant no offense about writing it.
You might be asking yourself why I’m equating the old nursery rhyme “Ring Around The Rosie” with today. Today marks the first day of the Lenten season, Ash Wednesday.
Doing some research, I found that origins of the nursery rhyme date it back to the 14th century during the time of the Black Plague. Apparently it was a child’s game developed to help keep little minds off of the Plague as people continued to “all fall down” around them. In a time of despair the game gave children a way to face the worst and then see above and beyond to start once again.
What does this have to do with Ash Wednesday?
Today we take ashes in recognition of remorse, repentance, and mourning.
We are reminded that we all fall down and that one day we shall return to ashes. We are symbolically reminded of these words, “From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
Tradition dictates that we “give something up” as a sign of our repentance as well, but I think this year our family will participate in a different way than you may think.
Our Parish has a service project this year to help out the homeless in our city; it’s a huge project that is sponsored by them year-round. As a family, I would like for us to contribute items needed according to the Church’s wish list. I also want to see us as a family return to regular worship; I’ll admit it’s mostly been my fault (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) that the children and I don’t go as often as we should and I want to change that!
Even if you’re not a Catholic, this time before Easter can become a way to focus yourself on your family and community.
What will you do this year?