Ashes in the Old Testament symbolized both sinfulness and human fragility.
As part of the liturgy of Ash Wednesday, Catholics throughout the world are invited to come forward to receive ashes on their foreheads with the words: “repent and believe in the Gospel”. It is a gesture of humility which publicly expresses one’s sinfulness and one’s desire to change with God’s grace .
The 2005 Lenten Theme Is: GOD’S WITNESSES FOR A NEW WORLD
Lent is a forty day journey which prepares all Christians to celebrate fully the great feast of Easter. Since Vatican II, the prescription regarding fast andabstinence has been limited to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. However, throughout Lent, the Church never ceases to encourage us to make our own the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me – it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks – to break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke, to share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, to clothe the man you see to be naked and not run form your own kin? (Is. 58: 6,7)
Lent is the season par excellence to undertake a spiritual journey, to allow a loving God to heal all that is broken within each of us. Lent is also an opportunity to assess our response to our baptismal call To be God’s witnesses for our world requires that we be converted to the ways of Jesus, that we become like Him, instruments of love, peace and forgiveness.
Photo: W.Y.D. 2002 Beresford, N.-B.