Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why ashes on Ash Wednesday? (Catholic Lent)

Maya, Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Pfc. Sandoval,  CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly;
First it's Fat Tuesday then the feel bad rituals of American Catholicism (

God damn it, why do we do these thing in the Church like molest boys? (Southpark)
Hi, I'm a sadhu. I smoke ganja, sacramentally.
Q: The question today, suggested by an avid Wisdom Quarterly reader is, Why do Catholics rub ashes on their forehead today?
"Steal" might be a better word for it, although "beg" and "borrow" could also work. There is a great deal of Hinduism in Catholicism, but almost no Catholic knows it. Eastern philosophies -- Buddhism, Tibetan tantra, paganism, Sumerian, Egyptian traditions -- have all unwittingly contributed to Rome's great success. This universal (the meaning of the word "catholic") form of  Christianity was originally a Roman "psy op," psychological operation/propaganda campaign to wrest power from religion and return it to the state.

A: That's a good question. And it took us a long time to get to the bottom of this mystery. First, the Catholic Church -- the ruling body of the largest religion on Earth today -- gets to be so popular because it appropriated all of its traditions, pomp, circumstance, spectacle, and imperial behavior from other religions. [But first let's hear an "official" explanation.]

Ask a Catholic apologist: "Ash Wednesday"?
I'm Catholic, so you have to be, too! (PL)
(PennLive) Chances are you spied someone with a black cross on their forehead on your way to work this morning - or even in your office or classroom. So what's going on? Today, Feb. 18th, is "Ash Wednesday." A brief primer:

What is Ash Wednesday?
No molesting the kids today, 'kay guys?
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season, a period of 40-some days focused on spiritual purification and repentance. It is a day of fasting for Catholic and Anglican churches. Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of the distribution of ashes upon the foreheads of Christians.
What do the black marks mean?
They do what they're told. I like that.
Those black marks are meant to be crosses, although as the day wears on they can look like black smudges. They are a mixture of ashes, Holy Water and, sometimes, olive oil.

The ashes come from the palms used in the previous year's Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter that marks Jesus's entrance into Jerusalem where he was met with palm branches by believers. It's especially significant, because Jesus was greeted in Jerusalem as a hero and the Messiah by the mob and he would eventually be put to death by the hands of the Romans at the insistence of those people. The ashes are meant to remind Christians about human mortality... More
We're here to torture and molest children in the name of mercy: an angry old German, former Hitler Youth, once ran the world's biggest corporation -- and maybe still pulls strings -- that's what's great about the universalist church of the Holy Roman Empire.
Hindu Sadhus smoke so much weed/pot.
One of the practices of Hindu sadhus or "holy men" was to rub themselves all over with pyre ashes to mindfully remember (recollect) death, along with all of the hygeinic advantages of using this free talcum powder like substance and skin protectant, which is also used as make up. Almost all sannyasis (spiritual wanderers) apply a tilak or forehead marking over their divine eye.

Why ashes when I can OM?
Ask a priest, and he's likely to say something about Jesus or death, but the truth is he has no idea why they do most of the things they do up on stage during the mass. But travel to India and observe a Brahmin priest, ritual celebrant, or sadhu, and you are likely to be shocked by all of the Catholic Latin mass trappings -- incense, candles, hocus pocus, chanting in a dead language, bells, genuflecting, wafer distribution (prasad), holy water, ash application on participants' foreheads along with a big tilak on the person conducting the ceremony.

Sannyasi ponders life (Ashish Tamhane/flickr)
Why would the Catholic Church beg, borrow, or steal all of the elements? Because experience and history shows they work. People love ritual, love spectacle, love communion (merging, union, yoga, connection with the divine). And that is why we in America and other Catholic countries (ever notice how many Catholics work over at FOX News?) do this strange thing without questioning it, and it probably has more than a little to do why people are leaving the Church and Christianity in general in search of something real.

We need more than the Church can offer; we need direct divine experiences (LU).

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