LENT: ASH WEDNESDAY

Wednesday 17th February 2021

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, time dedicated to prayer, fasting, and reflection in preparation for the great celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.

The Church has long used ashes as an outward sign of grief, a mark of humility, mourning, penance and morality. Receiving the blessed ashes on your forehead is the sign of penance. It signifies that we ought to repent of our sins.
Fasting and Abstinence

Catholics must fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Additionally, they must abstain from meat on all Fridays during Lent.

The norms of fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. Fasting means a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but they are not to equal that of a full meal. The rule of abstinence from meat is binding upon Catholics aged 14 and onwards. For those outside the age limits, Canon Law notes that “Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.”

Gracious God, Lord, Holy One, have mercy on us. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

The Three Pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trail as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. -St.Therese of Lisieux

Without Prayer nothing good is done. God’s works are done with our hands joined, and on our knees. Even when we run, we must remain spiritually kneeling before Him. -Blessed Luigi Orione

“Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones.” Ask and you shall receive,” Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord.” -Saint Peter Julian Eymard

“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself.” -St. Augustine

“God hides the prize of eternal glory in our mortifications and in the victory of ourselves, which we always strive for with great gentleness.” -St. Jane Frances Chantal

“Fasting is the support of our soul: it gives us wings to ascend on high, and to enjoy the highest contemplation! […] God, like an indulgent father, offers us a cure by fasting.” -St. John Chrysostom

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“Sins are purged by alms and acts of faith.” – St. Clement of Alexandria

“Almsgiving is good and salutary when to it is united the amendment of the heart from pride, malice, envy, slothfulness, indolence, gluttony, fornication, falsehood, deceitfulness, and other sins. But if the man is not careful to amend his heart, trusting only to his alms, then he will obtain but little benefit from them, for he builds with one hand and destroys with the other.” – St. John of Kronstadt

“I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.” – St Dominic Savio

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness,O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance. O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

St Francis Of Assisi Catholic Community