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Weekly Message To The Masses (March 14, 2004)         

       We are in the traditional Season of Lent and for many this is the time of year for fasting and sacrifice.  On Ash Wednesday I was in a local store and several people in the line ahead of me had ashes on their forehead.  The store clerk asked them what it was for ... they replied that it was Ash Wednesday ... but none of them knew the reason for the wearing of the ashes other than that.  Not being someone who likes unanswered questions I decided to do some research on the subject ... www.americancatholic.org was a good first resource.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday ... and for the Lenten observers, this means wearing "ash" on your forehead during this first day.  And why is that?  According to AmericanCatholic.org the reason is:  Ashes are an ancient symbol of repentance (sackcloth and ashes). They also remind us of our mortality ("remember that you are dust") and thus of the day when we will stand before God and be judged.

       This is amazing reasoning.  In Religious Science and from the Teachings Of Jesus, I have found "repent" to mean "giving up the un-truth for the Truth."  The Truth is that we are created "in the image and likeness of God" ... not dust .. not a sinner ... but the image and likeness of God ... Spirit, Life and Truth.  To be told that we will stand before God and be judged appears to be more of "God created in the image of Man," rather than the Truth.  We are judged by the Law of Life ... according to our "sowing and reaping" Jesus stated ... and this Law works for the good and the bad alike as we read in scripture.  Accepting that this Law is the Truth as taught by Jesus and outlined in the Science of Mind, there is no necessity for God to judge and in Truth, it would be a contradiction of scripture for this to be true ... "for He knows no iniquity."

       Continuing on with my research from this catholic web site I found:  "Lent is the primary time for celebrating the Sacrament of Penance."

       Well, there we have it ... in other words, if we don't realize that all the seeming wrong that we do, we do to our self ... we can do penance ... but, guess what?  If we don't change what we do ... we will continue to demonstrate the same discord in our lives ... and doing penance will not stop the Law of Life from handing us back exactly what we give it.

      There is also a call for "Fasting."  Fasting has many beneficial effects on both our body and our soul.  Jesus fasted ... but I do not believe that He fasted according to the catholic reasoning listed on this web site:  "Fasting should be linked to our concern for those who are forced to fast by their poverty."  Now, this makes absolutely no sense at all.  It does not help the poor in any way for any of us to identify with poverty ... if we want to help the poor there are many ways to do it ... but fasting with this idea in mind will not ... identifying with poverty will bring poverty into our own consciousness to be experienced ... and this is the Truth.

Church Nixes Good Friday Fenway Hot Dogs
March 12, 2003
Opening Day ticket holders at Boston's Fenway Park this year who are Catholic face a dilemma: the Boston Archdiocese said since the afternoon game against the Toronto Blue Jays  falls on Good Friday, they must refrain from eating meat, including hot dogs, sausages and pepperoni pizza.
            "We're already getting all kinds of requests for dispensation to eat meat," said the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese. However Coyne said that after a meeting to discuss the requests, Boston church leaders decided a baseball game was too weak an excuse to duck the no-meat rule.

      There is so much to learn about God and Life ... Infinite things to learn.  But we will never learn them as long as we hold onto old ideas and teachings that keep us bound to symbols and rituals.  Jesus did not teach voodoo ... and in Religious Science we learn the difference between "Cause and Effect."  Jesus taught us to transcend the ways of the world and lift up our consciousness to Infinite Good ... to God.  Jesus drew the ire of the priests of His time by shucking corn and eating it on the Sabbath .... He knew the law of the priests was nonsense.

        So many of us can get caught up in effects and false ideas just because someone with seemingly more knowledge or power states that it is so.  And this is not limited to traditional religions.  Just this week I received an email message from Hay House promoting Dr. Wayne Dyer ... a metaphysical teacher and author that I have great respect for.  Listed on this message were "Dr. Dyer's Daily Dozen - Simple Reminders to Help You Co-create Your World."  Reminder # 1:  "Want more for others than you do for yourself."  WHAT?????  Why would anyone practice this?  There is enough for everyone ... every Good thing we can imagine for ourselves or others is abundant throughout the Universe.  To "want" more for others than you do for yourself would reinforce the "lesser and greater" in our consciousness and create an imbalance.

      Everyone accepts what they are willing to accept in consciousness ... and whatever they accept is "perfect" for them ... not necessarily perfect for you and me ... but for them.  Traditions, rituals and symbols are "effects" ... wearing ashes on your forehead is an effect ... and according to Jesus ... is not necessary ... like sacrifice in an abundant Universe is not necessary ... like wanting more for others than you want for yourself ... all of these can so easily become just so much voodoo. 

 And So It Is! 

Maximum Love,
Rev. Hank Bates

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