Welcome to the the third installment of the SuperFriends Lent Power Packet #7in7 series in collaboration with Tiffany from Life of a Catholic Librarian! That’s a mouth full. Yesterday, she shared her plans for Lent and I shared mine. Today, Tiffany will be speaking serious business “what you need to know” Ash Wednesday, while I will share something personal.
We all know that I am married to an atheist. Who gasped? Really, it’s something that we work on in our marriage like anything else. Granted it was hard and there was arguing in the beginning. I even ruined some tongs over it. A lot of it is a delicate balance of respect and a whole lot of Holy Spirit intervention and trust!
What does this have to to with Ash Wednesday? It’s a perfect example of that balance I wrote of earlier. We always try to compromise on the little stuff so it’s easier to when the big stuff comes. Usually, when he compromises, I can tell, because he says funny things like “I accept you, and I love you”, with a grin, especially when I come downstairs in the morning looking particularly groggy, or scratch my very dry legs while watching a basketball game, and even…burp! That last one doesn’t happen often anymore.
See, (tangent coming) I thought when you didn’t let the burp out, no one could hear it. My husband finally filled me in on a little secret. “Keeping it inside, doesn’t keep it quiet, (ain’t that the truth for a lot of things!) but man, do I love you.” That’s how I know a compromise has been made. Because I kinda knew he could hear it. Deceiving myself!
The first Ash Wednesday we spent as a family was just last year. I came into the faith in 2012, and he didn’t come with us (me and the boys) that first year, it wasn’t an angry protest, he was just working.
Last year, we were sitting in the pew and it was time to go up and receive ashes. I am all about the wonder and awe of mass when my knees hit the carpet. I always pray huge thank you’s to God that I am even there because, I really am blessed to be there. Every week AND every Holy Day of Obligation. So the usher is walking towards our pew as people file out. I am walking towards the center to get to the main aisle where ashes are being given by Monsignor. Little Monk and Lexicon are in front of me and they can’t wait. This will be their second serving – as they received ashes at school. They were so excited that they asked Monsignor if it was ok prior to mass starting. Very sweet. My husband usually stays kneeling and watches us go up. I receive the ashes and go back to my pew, and seat. Again, I am totally into the liturgy, the music, all of it. I am SO absorbed that I am glued to the hymnal, singing along intently with my finger following each note to show the boys how to read music as well.
I sense heat boring through my thick curls covering the side of my face and realize that my husband is trying to get my attention. I do a double take. (If you’re visiting from Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, you’ll continue from this point!)
HE HAS ASHES!
He is making this face like – “boy do I love you!”. I bury my head in the hymnal and try not to make a sound and keep my shoulders rigid so no one can tell I am “bounce-laughing”. You know the laugh, when you’re shoulders bounce up and down towards your ears?
I look back at him, and he mouths “I really love you”.
After mass was over, I asked him what happened. He said that Monsignor (we are blessed to have two) came over to the other side of the pew and began giving ashes. He didn’t know what to do, he was panicked and didn’t want to make Monsignor feel bad, so he just got them.
As I write this, I am giggling. I checked with the Monsignor after and he said it was totally fine for a non-Catholic, atheist, anyone to receive ashes because it’s sacramental, and not a sacrament.
What’s the difference? Glad you asked.
Question: What is a Sacrament?
Answer: A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. (Baltimore Catechism online)
Question: What is a Sacramental?
Answer: A sacramental is a special prayer, action or object which, through the prayers of the Church, prepares a person to receive grace and to better cooperate with it. (EWTN, Fr. Saunders)
I kind of love the answer I found for sacramental. I like to think of my husband, unbeknownst to him and totally to the Holy Spirit that prompted Monsignor to walk over, to receive grace and to better cooperate with it.
Tomorrow, you’re in for a real surprise. I won’t even say any more, because I will get totally carried away and you’ll figure it out.
I’m writing seven posts in seven days this week with Jen at Conversion Diary. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.