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« The Esoteric: Friend or Foe? | Main | The Cup, the Loaf, and a Bowl of Chili »

February 09, 2005


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I was taken aback by this... that someone would actually ask that. It's like making change from the collection plate. I'd gently remind them they can always go wash it off afer the service...

As with all things, it is a matter of the heart. I think that the imposition of ashes are important, but other items might prohibit the person wanting ashes. Issues such as "going to work," "allergies," or "skin conditions" might make the imposition prohibitive. However, not withstanding these items, I might resist a person wanting a blessing without the ash if, for some reason, s/he did not really want to identify with the implication of the imposition. For example, could St. John the Baptist remit sin without the washing of water? Repentance was (and is) of course the primary issue. Nevertheless, the sacramental aspect of water ("repent AND BE BAPTIZED.") cannot be easily dismissed. The same may apply to the imposition of ashes in certain cases. One must maintain an open and receptive disposition without - in some cases - diminishing the importance of the imposition od ashes.


DPR -- thanks for the reminder concerning possible alergies or skin problems. I'm really trying to assume honorable motives throughout my dealings with people. There is a tension here though, isn't there? The "sign" and the "substance" probably are meant to be together, as you pointed out.

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