Today, March 01,2017 is Ash Wednesday and was marked as the first day of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in Catholic World and will manifest by services of penitence or showing sorrow and regretfull. Its official name is “Day of Ashes,” because of the practice of rubbing ashes on each persons forehead and in the sign of a cross. Since it is exactly 40 days (excluding Sundays) before Easter Sunday, it will always fall on a Wednesday for there cannot be an “Ash Thursday” or “Ash Monday.”
Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the Liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.
Why we receive the Ashes
Our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told as the Priest mark our forehead :
“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.
Where are the Ashes made from
The ashes are made from the blessed palms which was used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the last year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.
What to do after receiving the Ashes and marked on your forehead
Usually if the person who received the Ashes will be having a fasting or any actions that involves in volunteerism. Some may not eat meat on friday or even everyday of the week, there are also some people who really taking more seriously this feast and will have to apply the fastimg every day of their lives until Easter Sunday and will just eat Vegetables and Fish.
Their are also some people who cut some of the usual unnecesary things they always do.
Have you already received the Ash on your forehead? What are your fasting plan or what are your penitence this Lenten Season?