Wednesday, March 01, 2006

About Ash Wednesday

JMJ+D

Today is Ash Wednesday. We are [updated] not obliged to go to Mass today but encouraged to go and receive the ashes. All Catholics are bound to observe the rules for fasting and abstinence.

Rules:

Fasting (eating one full meal only, with the other two taken as very light meals, no snacking) and Abstinence (no meat).

Those who are 14 years of age and over must abstain from meat.

Those from 18 to 59 years of age must fast and abstain from meat.

About Ash Wednesday

The King of Nineveh believed the prophecy of Jonah and fasted forty days wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes to save the city, and ordered the people to do so, too [Jonah 3:4-10]. Jeremiah calls Israel to "wallow in ashes" of repentance [Jeremiah 6:26].

Abraham speaks of being unworthy to speak with God because he is "but dust and ashes" [Gen 2:7] -- being man, he is created from dust. Jesus also refers to this symbol in Matthew 11:21, "Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."

The ashes imposed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday are a reminder of our unworthiness and sinfulness,­ sinfulness that corrupts and stains us and leads to death (we return to the dust from whence we came.) Ashes remind us of our original sin and our need of redemption ­ our need to be cleansed of sin and made worthy of Salvation. This is why the priest says, as he imposes ashes on our foreheads, "Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you will return" [Genesis 3:19] or Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel. [Mark 1:15]

Read more
here.

2 Comments:

Blogger Carmel said...

Thanks for the history of Ash Weds. Each year I have to re read things to make sure i'm fasting right. Ash Weds mass was great, I would encourage everyone to go, we all got ashed and walked out of the Church with big black crosses (although sweat smudged mine) and it was great.
I hope you and your family enjoy Ash Weds mass =)

2:07 PM  
Blogger Saint Peter's helpers said...

Oh thank you Carmel! Mine was smudged right away too! I was hoping to carry it all through the day :) This morning when the priest said, "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel", I repeated it over and over again to myself so that I don't forget! :)

May you and your family have a blessed lenten season Carmel.

11:27 PM  

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