In ancient times many people used ashes for religious, medical and magical purposes. In the Old Testament, ashes were sprinkled on the head (as we are doing this year) or over the whole body as a sign of mourning or penance. Receiving ashes on the first day of Lent is a practice that dates to the fifth century. By the eleventh century it was a practice by the universal church. In recent years many Protestant Churches have resumed the imposition of ashes today as well.
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us about the three disciplines of Lent; prayer, fasting and almsgiving. God wants us to experience his goodness this Lent. That happens primarily when we spend time with him in prayer. So let’s try attending daily Mass or adoration during these next 40 days.
Fasting can be difficult, but when we fast, we make room for God. Every time we stop ourselves from reaching for that desert, we are emptying ourselves of our desires and asking God to fill us up.
Almsgiving not only brings us closer to people in need, but it also teaches us detachment. You realize that your life and you happiness do not depend on only the things that money can buy.
Lent can seem long and hard. But whatever you decide to do this year, know that God will graciously repay you with his presence, with his love, and with his grace !
St. Joseph, pray for us !
DeColores, Deacon Doug