Monday, February 23, 2009

Memento homo, quia pulvus es, et in pulverem reverteris..

Remember, man, that you are dust; and unto dust you shall return.

Rose Monday (February 23) is past. Carnival (Fasching) has ended. Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras - Fastnacht is here. Tomorrow, February 25 is Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch). The Lenten Fast (Fastenzeit) begins.

Fasting usually involves abstinence, you give up something. You do not eat meat, you give up chocolate, you give up your favorite adult beverage or anything else that you enjoy during the rest of the year. Blessed Martin Luther even stated that fasting and bodily preparation are a fine outward training; but, in addition to fasting, have you ever considered adding something to your Lenten regimen?

For some years now it has been my practice to include the praying of the Stations of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays in addition to the praying of the Divine Office. Do not think that this is something far removed from Lutheran practice. It is not uncommon to find the Stations in Lutheran Churches where the Stations are prayed during Holy Week.

But I do have a request for my readers. I am interested to know if your congregations include the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday and, if so, how do you include it. How do you incorporate it into the Divine Service? Is it before, during or after the beginning of Mass? Are the ashes blessed? Are they imposed at the Communion rail or at some other location?

I am just gathering information for my own consideration. I am curious to learn if this is an old or new practice within the Lutheran Church in America.

Meanwhile, there is still time to grab that last Danish, or to finish off that last batch of French fries or potato pancakes.

Now, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the great Paschal Feast; let us follow in the footsteps of our Lord as He submits to the will of His Father to Redeem mankind by the shedding of His Presious Blood upon the cross for our salvation.

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