Ash Wednesday begins in the East, here are some basic things to know
Ash Wednesday, leave with ashes on your head, and a clean soul
It may be Mardi Gras for many, but for some, Ash Wednesday has already begun. In the east, in the Philippines and across Asia, Ash Wednesday has arrived with the sunrise, calling many faithful to church to repent and receive ashes.
Ash Wednesday has already begun in the East.
We begin by acknowedging our need for a Savior. We need to be honest about our inclination to sin and acknowledge our need for forgiveness. That is why we are invited to participate in the cleansing and healing sacrament of Penance.
It is also why we are invited to meet the Lord afresh by receiving Him in His Word and partaking of the Eucharist where we receive Him in a special way, Body, Soul and Spirit. Lent is a time to increase our attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our participation in the devotional life of the Church.
Ash Wednesday is somewhat ironic in that it's the one time you leave church looking like you need to wash because of the ashes on your forehead, yet your spirit, indeed your whole person, has been made clean and new.
A popular topic of discussion for many Catholic Christians is what one will "give up" as a Lenten sacrifice. The sacrifice is intended to serve as a reminder of the sacrifice made by Christ and is a way to share in the 40 days of prayer and fasting which our Lord performed before his entry into Jerusalem.It is also a way of emptying ourselves of self love in order to be filled with the love of God.
Those who make sacrifices willoften face temptations, much as Satan tempted Jesus Christ in the desert. We are encouraged to follow His example and overcome those temptations through faithfulness, perseverance and prayer. In Jesus Christ, and through the grace he offers each of us, we can overcome them.
In the very process we are strengthened, converted and changed. We are all called to grow in holiness of life. In other words to grow into the Image and likeness of God. To learn to live and love as Jesus did.
In addition to "giving something up" the faithful may also take on a new obligation. A prayer devotion, for example, represents a sacrifice of time, while also offering extra prayer. Other devotions can include acts of service and special kindness to others. It is encouraged that they be done anonymously.
Catholics are asked to abstain from eating meat on Fridays, meaning the flesh of animals and its byproducts. We consume fish, eggs or vegetarian meals. Although Catholics are asked to refrain only on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, some choose to fast every day, some way.
Notably, Sundays are not a part of Len because they are always a "little Easter". They are days of celebration commemorating the resurrection of Christ. On that day, what one gives up for Lent may be partaken of. However, many Catholics tend to extend their sacrifice through Sundays as well. This is a matter of personal choice and should be discerend in prayer and with spiritual direction.
In all cases, prayer and fasting are important to making the most of the season.The ascetical practices of lent can become a path to our own freedom.. they help us to focus more on who the Lord has created us to be and who we can become as we choose to follow Him.
Many Christians of other communities also participate in Lent, in particular Anglicans and Lutherans as well as many other protestants. They recognize the value of the season and incorporate its observance into their services and daily lives. Orthodox Christians not only participate but keep a much more stringent fast in keeping with the practices of the early Christians.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras, Lent, sacrifice, devotion, Jesus
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- The Power of the Resurrection in our Lives: Christ Is Risen; Indeed, He Is Risen!
- What a Day! What a Way, the Easter Way, Alleluia!
- The Surprise of Easter
- Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Francis: Let the Risen Jesus Enter Your Life
- HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence
- The Resurrecting Power of Mercy
- On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still
- Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross
- Reflection: Let us Apply the Splint of the Cross to our Fractured Freedom
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
F. K. Bartels - Catholic Online, 4/6/2013
There is great cause for belief in the Resurrection. One of the most wonderful tenets of Catholicism and the true Christian religion the Church transmits, is that the Resurrection is a historical ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 4/1/2013
Have you have heard the old adage, used often in a disparaging way, He´s so heavenly he is no earthly good. I suggest again that it misses the mark completely. We are Easter people. We are called to ...Continue Reading
Fr. Randy Sly - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
To make sure that all mankind knows that it is not over but actually just beginning, God has an Easter bombshell. While we may have been able to anticipate the wondrous joy of a day of resurrection, ...Continue Reading
Pope Francis - Catholic Online, 3/31/2013
Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive! Let the risen Jesus enter ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »