I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, and by reading and reflecting on God’s Holy Word.
Ash Wednesday is today. It marks the first day of Lent in Western churches. The ashes symbolize penance and the dust from which God made people. When priests mark Christian’s forehead with the ashes they often say , “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
A priest, minister, or trained layperson can distribute ashes . They are put on the forehead in the form of a cross, representing human mortality. when the ashes are drawn on the forehead, the priest say one of these: “Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
As a human corpse decomposes, it turns to dust, or ash . The ashes placed on one’s forehead are a symbol of that. As the priest applies them in a cross formation on someone’s forehead , they will say either, “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Almighty and ever living God, you invite us deeper into your world, your people, your Lent . May this time be one of outward focus; seeking you in those we often ignore.
Associated customs The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbours).
Also, on Ash Wednesday , Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, adult Catholics over the age of 14 abstain from eating meat. During these days, it is not acceptable to eat lamb, chicken, beef, pork, ham, deer and most other meats. However, eggs , milk, fish, grains, and fruits and vegetables are all allowed.
Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Ash Wednesday . They also are expected to give up meat on Fridays during Lent. Catholics also are expected to fast on Ash Wednesday . Fasting means consuming only one full meal a day; two smaller meals that don’t together add up to a full meal also are allowed.
While in excess of a billion Christians observe Lent each year, not all Christians do . It is observed by Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Easter Orthodox, Lutherans, and Methodists. Whole swathes of Protestants don’t observe Lent — Baptists , Evangelicals, Pentecostalists, Latter Day Saints.
A: That’s true; there is no mention of Ash Wednesday in the Bible . But there is a tradition of donning ashes as a sign of penitence that predates Jesus. In the Old Testament, Job repents “in dust and ashes,” and there are other associations of ashes and repentance in Esther, Samuel, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
It’s up to you . Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church, so Catholics can choose whether to go to church and where the ashes would be placed on their foreheads. Many Catholics leave the mark on all day but wash it off before bedtime.
“When the eighth-graders at All Saints Catholic School put the ashes on your foreheads, there are two things they can say ,” the priest said. “One is ‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return. ‘ The second is, ‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. ‘”
A pastor, deacon or lay person can administer the ashes . For Catholics, Ash Wednesday rites usually (but not always) consist of Mass.
The ash is made from the burned palm leaves used during the previous year’s Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’s arrival to Jerusalem. It’s believed that residents welcomed him by waving palm fronds. Ash Wednesday sets the tone for Lent, which is considered a time for self-improvement.
Lent in the New Testament Today, Lent is connected with the 40-day fast that Jesus undergoes (Mark 1:13; Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13). Mark tells us that Jesus was tempted by Satan, but it is in Matthew and Luke that the details of the temptation are fleshed out.