Tag Archives: Catholic faith

The Practicing Catholic

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It takes more than the sacrament of Baptism to be considered practicing Catholics.  It would require truly understanding the faith and applying its truth in our everyday lives.  Witnessing for Christ is not only about quoting verses from the Bible, it is also about living the meaning of the words found in the Bible.

If we are to think about it, it is not at all easy to be at par with the standards that are required of us.  In fact, it can be very difficult and filled with obstacles.  It would require us to give something of ourselves in the form of time, talent, knowledge, and even financial resources.

A practicing Catholic is not merely determined by the performance of services and rituals as provided by the Church.  In order to be a good Catholic, actual acts of charity must be done while continuously praying and observing the prescribed practices of the faith.  There is a need to concretize the faith by being of help to others who are in need.

In the practice of the faith, words have to be accompanied by actions.  Without accompanying actions, our prayers will sound hollow and meaningless.  Catholicism merely becomes a religion but true actions make it our faith.

The possible acts of charity we can extend to people around us are unlimited.  There is not one act that will be greater than the other.  What is good about all this is that we are expected to provide such charity within our capacity.  No contribution can be so small as to be considered insignificant.  There can be no better form of evangelization than attesting to the truth of the Gospel through our words and actions.

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Ash Wednesday

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Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent traditionally observed 46 days before Easter.  It has no definite date and can fall any time from February 4 to March 10 depending on the liturgical calendar for the year.  It also marks the beginning of the period of prayer and fasting in relation to Jesus’ 40-day fasting in the desert.

The ashes imposed on the forehead of the faithful come from palms used for the previous years burned specifically for Ash Wednesday.  The day of the burning of the palms that occurs before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday.  Shrove comes from the word shrive which means to confess or obtain absolution for sin.  Ash signifies repentance for transgressions.

During early times, the ashes were scattered on the head as a sign for sorrow of sins and faults.  Other Christian denominations also observe Ash Wednesday with a specific service including the Baptist, Methodist, Lutherans , and Anglicans.   The Catholic Church considers ashes used for this day as a sacramental and not a sacrament and therefore can be imposed on anyone who wishes to receive them as opposed to the sacraments which can only be given to church members.

The words used by the priest or minister who imposes the ashes can either be “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”. Since Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance, confession is also made available while the service is being provided.  The recipients of the imposed ashes are expected to retain the mark until they wear off.