Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pre-Ash Thoughts

"We read in the books both in the Old Law and in the New that the
men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten Fast." (cf NewAdvent)

As a young Catholic child before I left the Church, we always received ashes on Ash Wednesday. Unfortunately, the beautiful symbolism was lost on my young heart. When I received ashes again for the first time almost 4 years ago, I was ready to finally understand and receive the blessing that this sacramental practice can give.
There's nothing magical about having ashes placed on one's forehead in the sign of the cross. However, there is much grace in a heart that is open and docile to the work of God by humbly submitting to this. These ashes remind me that I am a sinner saved by Christ and symbolize my inward disposition to fast, pray and repent during this season of fasting as our forefathers in the Early Church did.
Who was I that I should have excluded myself from such a beautiful and ancient way of drawing closer to Jesus? Did I think I had arrived and no longer needed repentance? Was it "All under the Blood" and there was no need for me to fast and pray and contemplate how my sins caused his bruises? What was I thinking? I don't know, but now I am so thankful to be able to avail myself of these opportunities for growth in grace.



Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Every year I approach Lent with both great anticipation and great dread. A season of death, in the middle of a season of death. (At least, here in the northland!)

Like you, when I was growing up, the symbolism was lost on me, but now, having really experienced coming home, it makes sense. I see what I didn't see before.

"You are dust, man, and to dust you will return."

I so prefer this to the alternative, "Turn from sin and believe in the gospel", although this latter has value as well.

There is nothing to instigate humility but the reminder that we are only dust. To contemplate death....and the resurrection.

And as I learned this year, the importance of baptism as proleptic of the resurrection.

May I die that I may live again. Amen.

February 05, 2008 8:43 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

One giant DITTO. Amen. I know what you mean. I was told by so many in our former Evangelical days, that should I sin, well, it WAS UNDER THE BLOOD and,no, I didn't HAVE to confess it, well at least not to any "man," but only to God and once I did that, (or didn't as it didn't really "matter" all that much) then off I could go, merrily on my way. He didn't even "see" my sin! As I was told by a dear friend, and a bit of a hyper-Calvinist at the time, "Susie, you did nothing to 'earn' your salvation, so there's nothing you can do to "lose" it."

WHOA WHOA WHOA! Slap my face and call me Charlie! I had a DANG hard time with that "theology" and try as I did, to utter my 'confession' and then go along on my rosy way, all saved and shiny, something was still very WRONG. What about making amends? I had to make amends, reparation if you will, to my husband, and happily, he did forgive me, and we remained together, but don't anyone ever tell me we can't lose our salvation! That's just not true. We can! I KNEW deep down that I was walking/slipping on very thin ice. But in that Calvinist mindset, I was SAVED when I'd made my Feb. 1, 1974 decision to accept Jesus as my Personal Lord and Savior. Far be it from me to say, "I've sinned" and "I need to seek forgivness" and gee, maybe I need to convert and seek forgiveness....DAILY!? Because I'm not perfected yet! It's very scary how our hearts can deceive us! Very scary how quickly we can become blinded to our own need to repent. Thank God for the Sacraments...all 7 of them! Thank God for the Church and Her wisdom! Praised be God in and through His Saints!

February 05, 2008 9:49 PM  
Blogger Micki said...

Just found your blog while surfing around. There is much to come back and read. I have a holy card blog and if you'd like to "borrow" anything, please help yourself.
In the words of a famous movie..."I will be back."

March 31, 2008 8:36 AM  

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