Yesterday, I went to do my daily searches for my Bing Rewards, and I saw Ashes To Go in NYC. I’ll be honest and stay that it bothered me.
Now what I’m about to say isn’t to say that people who got Ashes To Go are bad people or that the clergy trying to reach more people in this busy society are wrong. I just think that things like this enable us all to be able to say we’re too busy without feeling any guilt about missing out on things. Ash Wednesday is supposed to be a time to remind us of our mortality. It’s supposed to be a day that reminds us that we came from ashes and to ashes we will return. Yet we’re all too busy to enjoy the small things in life or going to church to partake in something that is seemingly important to us.
I woke up knowing that I would go to mass. I didn’t know what time, but I knew that due to my religious beliefs I would find the time to go to mass and participate in Ash Wednesday services. It wasn’t always the case. In college, I didn’t go to mass like I should have, and I didn’t have a good excuse. There was literally a Catholic Church across the street from my dorm. During this time, I certainly also never tried to participate by seeing a priest on the side of the road offering ashes. For me that would have felt like I was doing the wrong thing. I knew that the church was there and available to me. I was busy, but I knew I could make time for it.
Now, I get that we all have busy schedules. We’re all preaching to the same choir when we discuss how little sleep we get in order to just participate in life. What made us like that? If you’re like me, you grew up with a busy parent or set of parents who still made sure that you attended all of your pertinent school events, extracurricular activities, and yes church. We would go to Ash Wednesday mass after my mom got off from work, and we would listen to the mass and wear our ashes proudly. This was all in a town where very few people were Catholic or even understood what it meant to be Catholic. I defended my religion constantly. I also practiced it constantly until I lapsed. We all have lapses. We all struggle with our faith sometimes. That’s normal. We all also have to make decisions that are right for us, but I cannot get behind this trend.
I hope that today we will all take an extra moment to smell the roses.