Repeat after me--This is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation. Yet most Catholics find their way to Mass on this day. It is more than tradition or some fun practice. Having black ashes smeared on your forehead and being reminded of your own death is not stuff for fluffy part-time Christians. Yet even fallen away Catholics who rarely or never attend Sunday Mass, like to go to church on Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent reminds us that repentance is necessary and change is possible. Repeat and believe in the Gospel. There is still time to listen to and respond to the call. I thought I might not go to Mass today. It is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation after all. I am still searching for a church community, a Catholic Church Community. And the joy and sorrow of living in the Rome of the West is that there are still a great many churches to choose from. Even if I stick to ones within a 10 mile radius there are a lot of Catholic churches out there. I am listening for a call to one of them. I am attending different ones as I adjust to my new status.
So, this year, I have realized that I do need to go to Mass and have some ashes on my forehead and reflect on my status as a sinner and a penitent. This year maybe more than ever before, I need to hear God's call to come back.