27 February 2012

The Phenomenon of Ash Wednesday

Everyone comments on how many people come to Mass on Ash Wednesday, and many wonder out loud why this is the case. I think that the answer is simple: Ash Wednesday shows that there is something bigger to live for. Shows it.

We are Catholics on Ash Wednesday.

I was talking to a resident in the medical school over the weekend. He said that his attending physician took the residents out for pizza on Friday. The attending made a point of ordering veggie pizza and telling why: it was a Friday in Lent. He added that he was a pretty bad Catholic. But he abstained from meat on Friday. This led everyone else to as well.

What's that about?

Everyone has picked up the new translation without a hitch, "consubstantial" and all. The easiest Mass at the Cathedral to implement the changes that the Church is calling for is the Sunday evening Mass, which has by far the youngest crowd. They want to be more Catholic, not less.

If God can be contained by my understanding, then He is a pretty small God. The real God -- the BIG one -- pushes me beyond my understanding into the adventure of faith. He says, "I know more than you do. Trust me."

We express this trust in mystery.

So much for the mystery of Ash Wednesday!

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