Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today is Ash Wednesday

"An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it."
~ William Bernbach

"Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man: yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hair’s breadth of time assigned to thee live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it. " ~Marcus Aurelius

"The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset." ~ Geoffrey Madan

If you live in New Orleans, Rio, or any of the other cities that have the big celebrations, it's been a week of party time ~ Mardi Gras~ but today the party is over. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Christians around the world will gather, including many who partied so heartily yesterday, to observe the change of the season. The many faithful will approach their priest or pastor who will say "Remember that you are Dust, and to dust you shall return" while making the sign of the cross in black Ashes on each person's forehead. Or in some cases just placing a smudge of dust on the forehead. The first time I remember seeing the smudge was years ago when I was taking a square dance class and a lot of the members there were Catholic, I tried to wipe the dirt off one members head and boy did she get mad with me.. She snatched my wet paper towel right out of my hand and tossed it across the dance hall. She said I was trying to mess up her Lent.. I was just confused. I got even more confused when she wouldn't eat any pie because she was giving up Pie for Lent. I was young and figured something weird must be wrong with her. Needless to say I wasn't about to give up pie for something I didn't understand so I ate mine and hers. I was excited about a holiday that made her give me her pie, so I made it a point to find out a little more about it. I knew there had to be more to it than wearing ashes on your forehead.

In the Roman Catholic Church the first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday. Today begins a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares one for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we, who are all sinners, attain redemption. Even though the Bible doesn't mention the day of Ash Wednesday, all Roman Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on this day in order to mark the beginning of the Lenten season. During this Mass, the ashes which give Ash Wednesday its name are distributed. The ashes are made by burning the blessed palms that were distributed the previous year on Palm Sunday; many churches ask their parishioners to return any palms that they took home so that they can be burned and the ashes saved for the following year. The priest blesses the ashes and then the people come forward to receive them. The priest dips his right thumb in the blessed ashes and making the Sign of the Cross on each person's forehead says " Remember man that thou art dust and to dust thou shall return". Some may not say those words exactly but something close to that. Many people wear the ashes then for the entire day upon their forehead as a sign of humility and obedience to God. While the ashes represent penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance. Many people, even those who are not Catholic, will give up something for the season of Lent. Some will refrain from watching Television or doing other activities. I have known people who have tried to give up smoking and in the case of my friend from long ago, give up certain foods such as chocolate or even pie. The season of Lent will last 40 days, excluding Sundays, and ends on Easter Sunday. It falls on a different date each year, because it is dependent on the date of Easter; it can occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10.

I myself can never think of ashes or Fire without recalling a man I once rented a house from. He was a wonderful man and a Preacher but he loved fire better than any person I ever knew. He would tell us he was first fireman to the devil. Mr. Huggins left this world June 18, 2008, and is missed by all who knew him. My poem tonight is dedicated to him and our memories of him and his fires. Though it has little to do with the season of Lent, it does have to do with Fire and with the ashes left after the fire is long gone. Mr Huggins would have been one of those few who can give up something for Lent and actually stick it out for the entire season. If you are giving up something for Lent I wish you luck with sticking to it. I think all of us should reflect on our wrongs and also on the wonderful Mercy shown to us by God. Not just today and through the season of Lent but every day! I hope you enjoy today's Poem about a wonderful Man and his Love of fire. I also hope you have a great day!


"First Fireman to the devil I am"
he told us rather proud.
"But BUSTER is what they call me"
he shouted right out loud.

"I'm tired of this old tree" he said
while pulling out a saw
" But a fire is not a game " he said.
"I learned that from my Maw."

"Run Now and grab that Kerosene:
It's at the house next door,
I'll get an inferno going
This old tree will be no more!"

"Evening time Is gonna find us" he claimed
as Limbs he was a throwing
"with the devil's work already done,
and just some coals left here a glowing."

Written By: Patricia Sawyer
This poem Dedicated to Mr. Buster Huggins. Who loves fire almost as much as I do! Anthony especially should remember the day he and I helped Mr. Buster with his fire.


liza said...

Hi Patsy! you have been awarded. You can grab the award here.

Hope you're having a great weekend. :D

Big Time said...

Good morning Patsy,

That was one of the best poems I have ever read. You did good. I am sure Mr. Huggins would approve. R.C. loves fire, more than anybody I have ever seen. He has always loved it. Have a good weekend. I love you! Reuben