Ashes to Ashes, Dust to DustAs many Catholics did today, especially those who honor the Trinity of holidays that require church attendance for those fallen away Catholics (Christmas, Ash Wednesday and Easter), I received my ashes from a priest (thank God). And I saw other Catholics proudly walking around with their ashes of if they had accomplished something grand. I won't go into detail about how dreadful the Mass actually was, how moribund the homily was, how dreadful the music was (it's Lent, you morons), or how I refused to witness the desecration of the Eucharist, so I left and went to the adoration chapel for the rest of Mass. But I will go into something that I think many Catholics haven't thought about:
How many years do we have left before we will have to receive our ashes in secret?
For now, it's still culturally allowed for us to receive our ashes and walk around publicly with them without being targeted. But will that continue?
Look at Europe and all the cultural conflict that is emerging between the native population and the invading force let in by the political "elites" in the EU. If you were a single woman in Europe right now, would you proudly wear your ashes on your forehead with refugee muslims around everywhere, breaking all sorts of laws and viewing infidel women as present solely for the pleasure of muslim men?
With such confusion regarding the actual Faith at the present moment, many "Catholics" are cultural Catholics who see it more as a set of habits that previous generations have engaged in rather than as religiously significant rituals that help us to experience and understand the presence of God in the world. They have hardly thought of a situation where the practical practice of the Faith would be challenged or even limited by the dominant ethos of the society.
Might I suggest that none of us take for granted the public expression of our Faith. The English Catholics had to learn the hard way of what happens when the Faith is taken from you and the State limits your freedom of expression. Decades went by where English Catholics had no access to the Faith, hid the few priests in England in their homes and were threatened with a tortuous death if they were found out.
Don't think that can't come back again.
Enjoy this freedom now. Don't hesitate to publicly display your faith. The world is changing and you don't when the powers that be will decide that isn't allowed anymore.