The view from the farm


Ash Wednesday
February 17, 2010, 5:32 pm
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Every year I attend Ash Wednesday Mass, and every year I go through the same argument — should I keep the ashes on my forehead or not? Generally I end up wiping them off, because it seems to me that keeping the ashes is like rending my garments and not my heart. However, I respect the argument that the ashes are a visible witness to Christ. I’d kind of like to leave them on, as such a witness, but I can’t justify it for myself.

That pretty much takes care of the arguments that I see, so this will be a short post. I hope the comments will be many and varied.  Post away!

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4 Comments so far
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Louisa and I were jsut discussing this earlier today. I like to leave the asked there as a witness and reminder to others. I have had lots of people suddenly remember that they needed to go to Mass or ask questions about why the ashes are there. I tend to see them as a good evangelization tool. Also, I do not like to go straight out and wipe them off because somehow that makes me feel as if I am ashamed to wear them. I can see both sides of the argument and would not judge either choice, but my preference is to leave them where they are. That being said, I won’t be going to Mass until this evening because my daughter wants to go and she is in school during the day; so they won’t last very long or speak to many people this year.

Comment by Rabia

Leave them on until they itch or until you’re safely out of the way of anyone who would pitch a fit if you wiped them off.

And then remove them in a way you find respectful.

I used to leave mine on all day, but I did that out of angst more than anything else.

You make visible signs of worship as you think is best. Whatever that is, do it well.

Comment by iampunha

I leave mine on all day, and I go to Mass as early as possible on Ash Wednesday to maximize the time I have them on. The way I see it, so few people of my generation care about anything like this anymore (I may have seen two other people with ashes at the law school yesterday) that I feel compelled to witness in this way.

Comment by Andrew

I have no idea. I’d say just doing what your intuition tells you to do is the right way to go. The ego — chatter mind — just wants to distract you from the real reason you have the ashes in the first place. And if you’re distracted, you’re somehow “off the mark” — which I’ve read is one definition of “sin.” So follow your bliss or your heart or your forehead; and witness the joy that is you.

Comment by Michael Walker




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