Wednesday, 6 February 2008

...in only a few years ???


Ashes to Ashes by ~Faithling on deviantART

There was a time when the majority of people [even among non-catholics] would have been fully aware of the existence and nature of Ash Wednesday...
As we were uncertain if our parish priest would be returning from Ireland in time for an Evening Mass [please pray for his sister who is seriously ill] ; I nipped out of work for an hour this morning - upon returning with the ashen cross upon my forehead - many of my work colleagues showed great concern that I'd merely got my face dirty from the warehouse or freezer curtains or possibly a faulty label printer - three women actually made attempts to remove it....
The blame for this collective ignorance in this regard has to be laid at our door - for we've simply walked away from our evangelical duty to be a visible outward symbol of the faith.
I'm nearly forty; yet I was the youngest person in the congregation this morning ; the Poles all being at work now seem to amount to well over a half of our young families / youth present at mass....
Last year in Nicky's office - not one of her co-workers had ANY [and I mean any ] idea of what was celebrated/remembered at Easter. None of them knew !

My co-worker is a young deaf man ; last week we were discussing my blog [mainly via my hysterically demonstrative mime/sign language] when he said to me that he went to church when he was young and in the boy scouts - now get this !!
He said :

' the man in the white dress was giving out little round pieces of paper for people to eat - what did it mean because nobody ever told me ???'

I was stunned ; and repeated what he's said to a nearby female co-worker...her response ?

'Oh yes they use that rice-paper stuff don't they - like you get in sherbet flying saucers ??'

How soon will it be before we become totally invisible within the collective social consciousness ?

How long will it be before we're only mentioned in fairy tales ?

1 comment:

gemoftheocean said...

I agree == and it's our fault for letting it happen. I am stunned by the deaf man. Was his family Anglican or Catholic?

Although, to be fair, there are some western people who know more about zen than they do about Christianity.

I still keep to the "rule of thumb" my 1st grade teacher told us:: Leave the ashes on until you'd normally wash your face.

30 years ago, even then it had become infrequent that one would see large numbers of Catholics still with the ashes on from morning Mass. BUT I would say most if not many, even if not Catholic still knew what it meant. I can't say I was ever ridiculed for it. In college on ash Wednesday I always made a point of dressing well for the day, because it did give a more than a few non Catholic college classmates pause before the "oh, wait you have a smudge" some would smile and remember "ah, must be Ash Wednesday" a few other Catholics would sidle up to me and say "I wish I had your courage" and one college professor, whom I knew to be agnostic at best (he wasn't a militant non-believer, but intellectually had a hard time in putting his faith in God) was also impressed that someone would chance such a thing in a secular setting for the day. He said "I used to see that all the time in my youth and when I wsa a young man..." and he said it wistfully, as though he were saddened that not even the believers had the courage of public display of conviction.

So yes, in one way it could be seen as a "look at me" - but I think if done with good cheer ti can be a positive witness.

Keep up the good fight, Paul.