Today is the Catholic holiday known as Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent leads up to the resurrection of Jesus on Easter where the faithful give up something as a small sacrifice, repent for their sins and fast.
And if you didn't know that today is Ash Wednesday, then the social media savvy Catholic priests are setting out to spread the world by sharing selfies using the fitting hashtag #ashtag.
Yes, the priest at your church might use Twitter and Instagram, and yes they might be taking selfies.
On Ash Wednesday, Catholics receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead. The trend of sharing your ashes selfie began last year with both the hashtags #showyourash and this year's popular #ashtag. While some believe it is a modern way to reach Christians and get them to church to receive theirs, others criticize the trend. The point of the ashes is to remind the faithful about morality. Snapping selfies, the critics argue, is just the opposite self-involved message.
I've racked my brain trying to justify, theologically or otherwise, #ashtag & public displays of ashes. I've got nothin'.
— Greg Hillis (@gregorykhillis) February 18, 2015
In one tweet, a Catholic nun named Sister Anne revealed that no one wore their ashes in public, even those at the Vatican while she lived in Rome.
To #ashtag or not to ashtag. Seems like a conflict between “let your light shine” and “do not let others see you are fasting.” — Sister Anne (@nunblogger) February 18, 2015
Whether or not the trend is pious, it surely has taken off.
Priests and laymen are sharing their #ashtag photos on Twitter and Instagram. Here are a few favorites.
— Hannah Truetken (@hannah_truetken) February 18, 2015
My God kicks ash #ashtag pic.twitter.com/4NC6KsryIN — Tim Stricker (@TimStricker) February 18, 2015
A photo posted by Ava McGuire (@ava_mcguire) on Feb 18, 2015 at 7:57am PST
Rejoice and Repent!! @USCCB #ASHTAG #Lent2015 @thenorthface pic.twitter.com/aj7QlzMVp8 — Fr. Chris Dunlap (@cjdunlap) February 18, 2015
Catholics problem #lol #joke #fun #ashtag #ashwednesday #journal #teamjesus #instadaily A photo posted by chris rob (@christoadrian) on Feb 18, 2015 at 1:43am PST
ITS ASH WEDNESDAY! SHOW ME YOUR ASHES!!! #AshWednesday #ashtag pic.twitter.com/A7xGWS5a8b — Father Jim Sichko (@JimSichko) February 18, 2015
[PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah (Rosenau) Korf/Flickr]