Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent — a season of fasting and prayer observed by Christians.
Since Jesus prepared Himself for His public ministry in 40 days, Christians imitate Him with prayer and fasting during this time of Lent to prepare for Holy Week.
Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Hebrew tradition of penance and fasting, including the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us and are a reminder of our mortality — “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
In remembrance of how Christ our Lord was tortured, suffered, and died for our sins, we are asked to make small sacrifices during Lent:
- Abstinence: Refrain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent for all age 14 and older. Why Friday? – because Jesus died for our sins on (Good) Friday.
- Fasting: Eating one full meal and two small meals for age 18 through age 59. The elderly and those with special dietary needs or medical conditions that require a greater or more regular food intake, are exempted from fasting.
- Surrender something that gives us pleasure, and/or do something good that we don’t ordinarily do.
Most of all, tell Jesus that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.
May the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you, always,