Thursday, March 05, 2009

My Ash Wednesday.


Yesterday.
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While I was putting the monstrance and candles away in the sacristy yesterday, I noticed a container of ashes from last week, so I blessed myself with them and licked the residue off from my finger. (St. Francis sprinkled ashes on his food.) Then I brushed them off and returned to the sanctuary to move the flowers to Our Lady's chapel since adoration was over. So. A week later, I got my ashes, a sign of my repentance - alone in the sacristy.
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That empty, abandoned feeling...
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I also noticed my parish emptied the holy water fonts - although nothing had been inserted to replace it. I've been going to another parish for Mass - which is why I did not know what my own is doing. I know why liturgists like to do that, I just don't know why pastors go along with it however. I'm used to stuff like that though; after all, how many years have I gone through such novelties? (Too many to admit for a guy who will be turning, er, ah, ooh..., 39 this year.)
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I have a feeling that those of us who remember how during Passion week all the statues were covered with purple until Holy Saturday, pretty much get the empty font syndrome. The impression of purple draped statues was always a bit jolting as one entered the church, especially for little kids or the irregular attendees. (BTW - the practice is still allowed, recommended and executed in Roman Catholic parishes.) Liturgists, many of whom lack any sort of Catholic maturity, seem to get the same kick from empty fonts - but it is only effective the first time one experiences it - afterwards, one simply ignores it. Oddly enough, in churches that empty the fonts, the same liturgists wouldn't think of covering statues - if indeed the church has any - because it is "old fashioned". Whatever.
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Most Catholics ought to know the fonts are emptied on Holy Thursday and are filled once again with the new Easter Water after the Vigil on Holy Saturday.
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Holy Water - it's a good thing.
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That said, I'm not really complaining about the empty fonts. Like I mentioned, I have holy water at home - I use it all of the time. I get the holy water from a church where they use the old Roman Ritual, and still include salt. A lot of people like to have blessed exorcism salt now days. Growing up, I only knew about that stuff as it was used in baptisms - to my knowledge, lay people never used it - and I tried to know absolutely everything about being a priest and the sacraments and sacramentals. Anyway, why would we have used exorcism salt, when salt was part of the mix in blessed holy water? But I digress, and I don't know a lot about that.
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The real desert.
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Like I said - I'm not complaining about empty fonts, there are bigger things to be concerned with. But what I really wanted to write about, was a conversation I had with one of the long time parishioners. After adoration, we were discussing some of the things local parishes have done in the years since the Council. Mind you, we weren't whining - it is simply all part of our history now. She told me how many pastors our parish has had over the years, and how each one brought in some type of innovation or novelty. I don't need to go into detail as to what they consisted of, we've all experienced or heard of the abuses, some of which continue on elsewhere. What impressed me most in the conversation, was this woman's attitude. She told me how she, her husband and friends kept going to Mass every day, kneeling at the Consecration, taking communion on the tongue, even when others mocked her - for all of those years.
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"Oh sure," she said laughing, "we just kept on. I shrugged all of that stuff off. The priests were still priests, Jesus was still present in the Eucharist. We all built this church you know. And now, after 35 years, we have a good pastor who is trying to restore Catholic practice. I just plug away."
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She is a fine lady. The only time I've ever seen her get annoyed is when she hears stories about children being abused, exploited, killed, and most especially, aborted; and she remains active in pro-life ministries. Oh yeah, she doesn't like Obama though.


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I think I'm snapping out of my bad mood now.

3 comments:

  1. David9:41 AM

    Sounds like that ladu has a level head solidly screwed onto her shoulders.

    Oh and....you are turning 39 this year TOO!!?? What a coincidence!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes david - but I look 29. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous12:43 PM

    YEAH...Um....OK. Did I mention that I look like a mix between Brad Pitt and Clive Owen?

    Hey my daddy always told me" "Son, if you are gonna lie, lie big." :)

    ReplyDelete


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