A word from—Deacon Ed
As you read this column it will be Sunday of the first week of Lent. But I am writing this on Ash Wednesday. Therefore I would like to share with you the spiritual side of the preparation of ashes. We begin by gathering old palms from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration. They are now a year old. The fresh and green palm we waved and laid on the ground for Jesus to walk on has now become dried out and withered like us in the last year have become sinful. Our hearts, minds, and souls have gathered dust and so as a symbol of wanting to get rid of our sinful ways we burn the old palms and then we place those ashes on our forehead as a reminder of our sins and as a sign of humility, that we are acknowledging to the whole world our sinfulness, and as such, that we seek forgiveness and change.
As Fr. Bob and I prepared the fire of palm and intentions from the congregation which had gathered, I realized that we were burning our old sinful ways in a very old and tired bucket. My thoughts were, “How appropriate.” Then as the fire began to take off it overwhelmed the pail and reminded me of the fire of Hell. What an appropriate place to send our old sinful ways. We were just sending our sins and our souls were being purged and cleansed. Then Fr. Bob did something I don’t remember him doing before on Ash Wednesday and that was to put incense in the burning fire and my initial thought was, “How beautiful.” We were taking incense and turning this bonfire of sin into an offering to God with the addition of fragrant incense. And coincidentally, as we go through Lent with our sacrifices, let us sprinkle some incense upon those offerings by doing good for others. May those kindnesses we offer to others leap to Heaven to become stars to shine on all God’s children.