This Wednesday, February 14th is Ash Wednesday. The times available to receive Ashes are listed in this issue of the “The Bell”. Ash Wednesday hits us squarely between the eyes, forcing us to face our mortality and our sinfulness…
“Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return…”
These are some of the opportunities for us to open ourselves to God’s transforming grace this Lenten season:
Fasting and Abstinence
Fasting and Abstinence are mandated by the Church during the season of Lent. Although people are encouraged to do more for their own spiritual growth, the currently designated fast days are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This applies to Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59. Fasting is defined to mean only one full meal a day. Two other smaller meals may be had. All Catholics 14 years old and older must observe the law of abstinence. This means refraining from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent. Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, or dairy products.
Prayer and Almsgiving
Prayer and Almsgiving are two of the time-honored traditions of the Catholic Church during Lent. Most Catholics try to find time for extra prayer during Lent, either as individuals, as a family, as parish groups, or by attending daily Mass. All are encouraged to spiritual development through reflection on the readings of the season, attending the Stations of the Cross, attending the Lenten Speaker Series and by personal attempts to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the ways we demonstrate our unity with Christ is to care for his/our brothers and sisters. Any form of charity, donations of time, talent, or treasure to benefit others can be viewed as almsgiving.
Lent is a time for us to do something different and unique in our lives to allow God’s grace the opportunity to change us and turn us away from sin, making us better Christians.