Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

  Lent is a sacred time to "free the longing that dwells in the heart
of every human being so that it can reach its true height."


“O how unspeakable is this Sacrament which sets the affections ablaze with the fire of charity and sprinkles our home’s lintel, on both doorposts [lips], with the immaculate Lamb’s blood! What wholesome provision for our dangerous journey we receive in this food!

What strengthening manna enriches the traveler! It invigorates the weak, brings back health to the sick; it increases virtue, makes grace abound, purges away vices, refreshes the soul, renews life in the languid, binds together all the faithful in the union of charity! This Sacrament of Faith also inspires hope and increases charity. It is the central pillar of the Church, the consolation of the dead, and the fulfillment of Christ’s Mystical Body.”     ~  St. Thomas Aquinas

Ash Wednesday in Iraq. DoD Photo (Spc Daniel Schneider)

*ASH WEDNESDAY is solemnly observed by the Church to mark the beginning of the forty days of penance in the Lenten season. The faithful who attends the Mass on this day will be marked on the forehead with a CROSS of ASHES as a sign of conversion, penance, fasting and human mortality.
The marking of the forehead with a cross made of ashes reminds each that (1) God made the first human being by breathing life into dust, and without God, human beings are nothing more than dust and ashes, (2) the phrases often used when the ashes are administered remind Christians of the doctrine of original sin and (3) the cross of ashes may symbolize the way Christ's sacrifice on the cross as atonement for sin replaces the Old Testament tradition of making burnt offerings to atone for sin.
As ashes are being administered, the priest utters one of the following phrases:
    "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."
    "Remember (O man) that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."
    "Repent, and hear the good news."

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him;
and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
During Lent, we are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. They are the "three-fold cord" spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12. Satan will not prevail against us if we follow Christ's call to use this three-fold cord as a basis for our Christian walk.

Let us pray - one for the other - for perseverance and fidelity!
If possible, receive our Eucharistic Lord daily
through this Lenten Season. 
He is our Strengthing Manna for the journey. 

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