Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

I'm back in the boat.  Even though I need routine, I resist.  I've returned from the Alps and slowed down enough from a miraculous deluge of work that came in after my return from Europe.  So I am here to blog once again.  

It is Ash Wednesday and for those who aren't Catholic or unfamiliar with the meaning, it is the first day of Lent.  You won't know what that is either, I guess.  Well anyway, lets just say it signifies the anticipation of spring for me and the observance of Jesus's final days on earth. I think the 40 days of Lent is a symbol of Jesus's 40 days in the desert too.  Many good Catholics repent, fast, contemplate their existence and offer themselves in humble service during this period.  There will be a Mass or prayer service for those observing Catholics and Ashes will be distributed upon the forehead.  "From ashes we come to ashes we return."  Kind of a scary thing for a young girl growing up Catholic.  It just dawned on me how much the Catholic faith drives home the death thing.  No wonder I am so preoccupied with dying.  I was exposed to the grotesque, mangled and bloody way too early.  I remember being mesmerized by the religious paintings of Caravaggio.  In particular, the crucifixion of  Christ.  If you've never seen this painting look here.  I'd torture myself with these images. My mother had these art books laying around the house and I'd spend hours testing my courage.  I'd jump over the pages with the scary paintings and then slowly, like I was sneaking up on it, I'd turn back to them peeking over the edge of the page into the dark, shadowy mangled body of Christ hanging on the cross.  I guess this is where I might have developed my morbid sense of humor too.

Today I will participate.  I want to shoot the observants and the ceremony for my show and maybe I need a little touch of humility myself.  One can never have enough.

Greg Miller, a fellow Nashvillian and a Guggenheim Fellow has a series on Ash Wednesday here.  I had forgotten how big the Catholic population of NYC was.  


JazzLvr said...

I am a Catholic. Yet truth be told I haven't practiced Catholicism in a long time. That is if practicing means I attend mass, pray regularly and feel a overwhelming sense of guilt for my daily transgressions.

My grandmother, who raised me for the first half of my life is a truly devout Catholic. Growing up, I remember doing the the rosary on a regular basis. In candlelight. Don't know if you have ever done it but it involves a chant-like recital of Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Repeatedly. I think her faith is the one thing that gives me belief in the power of faith. She has withstood much. And her faith has given her strength. So while I may not practice, I have deep respect and appreciation/understanding of the truly faithful. Because being a cynical disbeliever does not make you a better person either.


TammyPatrice said...

In some ways you do practice. And once a Catholic.....

Personally I love the rituals, color and diversity of the faith. The crazier the better.

Thanks for dropping by. Warming up in NJ?

Bob said...

Hey Tammy, do you remember Greg? He was a skinny little high schooler when you were assisting me and he was interning with me before his escape to SVA in NYC. I've been keeping up with you through Ginny. Great blog. I've never been one for words, but you are putting down in your blog the way I've been feeling about age. Seems I've just woken up to find myself 54. Love your shot of the confessional. Take care, Bobby

TammyPatrice said...

Yes. I remember Greg. Thank you for dropping by. Yea, Ginny keeps me up to date. Saw some of your work at the Oak Bar at the Hermitage. Very beautiful and Ginny's framing did it justice.