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I rubbed my ashes off my forehead right after Mass.  I can't decide if I am ashamed or embarrassed of being seen in public with the ashes on, or if the ashes make me look like a Pharisee.  Let's face it - we live in a culture where many people are not Catholic.  They see the ashes as a display of false humility - a kind of "Hey, look at me!  I am better than you because I went to Church today!".  Back in the day, when the entire culture was Catholic, the ashes had a more humbling effect because there was no spiritual pride involved because everyone understood their meaning and was in it together.  Nowadays on Ash Wednesday, you will encounter nominal Catholics "peacocking" their ashes, utterly contradicting their intended purpose.  I don't want to be counted among this crowd, and so I washed them off.  Yet a part of me feels guilty, like I should have left them on and offered up any ridicule I may have received for wearing them.  Perhaps the joke is on me.  I just don't know!  What about you guys?  Do you leave your ashes on all day?
I can't get to mass before work, so it's never an issue for me.

I did have a student this morning who had already been to mass in the early morning and had ashes on her forehead. This caused the other students to remember it was Ash Wednesday and talk about what they were giving up. I think a decent number of them had forgotten about Lent until they saw her ashes.
I leave mine on all day, or until they get rubbed off during the course of daily activities.  What makes someone look Parisaic is when their actions don't remotely match the outward sign of ashes on the forehead, or even simply going to Mass.  If someone asks me about it, I use it as an opportunity to tell them about the meaning behind the ashes, and more importantly, if they'll allow, a bit about the Church.
Blessed be God if people falsely think you're a pharisee because you actually went to Church! What a grace to be humiliated like that!
I always found it interesting that the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday is about not marking your face, but rather keeping it clean.  Hmmm...

GOSPEL (Matt. 6:16-21)
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, "And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.

"Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through, and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."
(02-10-2016, 04:21 PM)richgr Wrote: [ -> ]Blessed be God if people falsely think you're a pharisee because you actually went to Church! What a grace to be humiliated like that!

True.  I wish I had thought about it more.
(02-10-2016, 04:21 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]I always found it interesting that the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday is about not marking your face, but rather keeping it clean.  Hmmm...

GOSPEL (Matt. 6:16-21)
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, "And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.

"Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through, and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."

Yes, I have never had the seeming contradiction adequately explained to me.  It is something I want to read up on.
I typically go after work, so I guess it's not as much of an issue for me. I leave them on until night or the next morning.
I don't receive ashes, as I'm Eastern and on the Julian calendar. Even if I were a Latin Catholic I just couldn't bring myself to get them. Ash Wednesday Mass is probably the most jam packed standing room only Mass of the year and it's not a holy day of obligation anyway. 
You just need to live in Canada where toque wearing is mandatory. It takes care of the to-ash-or-not-to-ash problem.
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