Home » Behind the Catholic Counter » Are You Spiritually Prepared for Lent? Ash Wednesday is February 6.

Are You Spiritually Prepared for Lent? Ash Wednesday is February 6.

“Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return”

– Book of Genesis 3:19

 

 

“Remember that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.” The traditional rite of the imposition of ashes, repeated today, is always very eloquent and the words that accompany it are very indicative. In its simplicity, it evokes the transience of earthly life: Everything passes and is destined to die. We are sojourners in this world. Sojourners who must not forget their true and final end: heaven. If, in fact, we are dust and destined to become dust, this, however, does not put an end to everything. Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is for eternal life. Jesus, dying on the cross, has unlocked the access to it for every human being.

The entire liturgy of Ash Wednesday helps us to focus on this fundamental truth of faith, and stimulates us to undertake a decisive journey of personal renewal. We must change our way of thinking and acting, fixing our eyes on the face of the crucified Christ and making his Gospel our daily rule of life. “Be converted and believe in the Gospel”: May this be our Lenten program, while we enter an atmosphere of prayerful listening to the Spirit.”

– Pope John Paul II – General Audience. Vatican City. Ash Wednesday – February 28, 2001

Day By Day Through Lent: Reflections, Prayers, Practices

Author: Fr. Daneil Lowery

Journey To Easter: Spiritual Reflections for the Lenten Season
Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Author: Magnificat Magazine

Author: G. K. Chesterton
Lenten Meditations
Author: Fr. Francis Martin

Lent and Easter with Catherine Doherty
Author: Catherine Doherty
Author: The Redemptorists
A Family Journey With Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day
Author: Angela Burrin
To browse the complete selection of items in our Lenten Specialty Store, please click here
To browse our complete selection of crosses and crucifixes, please click here
To browse our complete selection of beautiful Catholic art, please click here

“The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works). ”

– Catechism of the Catholic Church 1438

“Fasting and Penance were used by the ancients to express contrition, and to assist them in controlling their natural urges. This message of humble self-abnegation runs counter to our culture's emphasis on satisfying any and every desire we might feel. The Church's penitential traditions are intended to help us become more conscious of – and more contrite about – our sins, as well as help us conquer our impulses and desires as the holy ones did in ancient times. ”

–Gregory Oatis “Catholic Doctrine in Scripture”

Calendars and other items for the New Year:
BEHOLD, O good and sweetest Jesus,I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight,and with the most fervent desire of my soulI pray and beseech Thee

to impress upon my heart

lively sentiments of faith,

hope and charity,

with true repentance for my sins

and a most firm desire of amendment:

whilst with deep affection and grief of soul

I consider within myself

and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious Wounds,

having before mine eyes that which David, the prophet,

long ago spoke in Thine own person concerning Thee,

my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet,

they have numbered all My bones.”

Amen.
We wish you a blessed season of Lent.

10 comments

  1. I have seen anothe site claim we have the earliest date for Easter this year since 1940. I think, with leap years, I see how both that and your statement about Ash Wednesday could be true, but what is the source for these? Thanks for any help!

  2. That blasphemous skit on Utah Public Radio on January 7 did not originate with that particular radio station; rather it was produced and circulated by PRI (Public Radio International) an appendage of NPR (National Public Radio). The “skit” was given by a Ms Faith Sailey of “Fair Game” fame. The woman is supposed to be “Catholic!” One can only deeply bemoan the state of catechesis in the Catholic churches of our fair land. Our trendy bishops have a lot to answer for. Faith Sailey can be contaced via radio station WLRN in Miami, Florida (303-995-1717).

  3. I believe this is not correct, although widespread. Ash Wednesday this year is 6 February. In 1913, it was 5 February. The earliest possible date for Ash Wednesday, 4 February, last occurred in 1818.

  4. • Orthodox Christians have different dates for Easter than Roman Catholics and Protestants (including Evangelicals).

    It all started with the “leap year problem”, which was “solved” by the Julian calendar, implemented during Julius Caesar’s time. The problem of the calendar year not matching the earth’s revolution around the sun remained, however, because it takes the earth 365 days, 6 hours and 11 seconds to rotate the sun. The Julian calendar didn’t account for the “extra” 11 seconds.

    What did this mean? It means that about every 200 years, we “lose” 1 day with the Julian calendar. By 1500 A.D., on June 1st, it was actually June 7th.

    So, in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian calendar by papal decree, which added back in the 11 seconds. While it fixed the leap year problem once and for all, for some reason he changed the Easter calculation, which unfortunately created a huge problem for Christians; at least, for non-Catholic Christians.

    This is because every decade or so the Gregorian calendar’s lunar calculation puts Easter before Passover, which simply isn’t Biblically accurate. The Last Supper was an observance of Passover. Christ was the Passover lamb:

    1 Corinthians 5:7: Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

    Christians since the first centuries have celebrated Easter after Passover, just as Jesus was crucified in the days after the Last Supper. Of course, only Orthodox Christians today still continue to observe this apostolic tradition, as we have during the 2,000 years since the Crucifixion. We have ignored Pope Gregory’s decree.

    Does the significance of the date of Easter not matter? It must not to Catholics and Protestants. In that case, why not celebrate Easter in February, preferably on a Monday so we can have a 3-day weekend? Plus, the off-season travel rates to Disney World would be a lot cheaper! How about the middle of October? Does this sound ridiculous? Yes it does, about as ridiculous as celebrating Easter this year on March 23rd 2008, which is what Roman Catholics and Protestants will do, even though Passover doesn’t start until April 20th 2008.

    And please don’t compare the significance of December 25th with that of Easter. We have no idea when Jesus was born; but we know exactly when he was crucified and rose from the dead: during the days after the start of Passover. Again, Jesus was the Passover lamb. He was the sacrifice for our sins.

    You have a choice when it comes to celebrating the greatest event in Christianity: follow apostolic tradition as it has been for almost 2,000 years.

  5. Peter in Chicago,

    This is the kind of rant that is all too common on the part of the Orthodox. It is unbecoming of anyone bearing the name of Christian.

    BTW, I thought that this is the earliest Ash Wednesday since 1913, not 1856.

  6. Dear Pete, my Orthodox brother in Christ, I see that you are not fully educated in the Othodox Faith you profess. Let me correct your error – most Orthodox churches do not follow the Old Calendar, although the majority of Orthodox faithful do. In the world of Orthodoxy you hear the term “old calendarist” for just this reason. While the Orthodox have maintained Apostolic Succession and the validity of the Sacraments or the Holy Mysteries, they have not really upheld Apostolic Tradition any better than the West. Witness the squabbling between various Orthodox jurisdictions with regard to who or what is “canonical” or not – and the theological disagreements between various Orthodox bodies can be mind-boggling. This points to the reality that such a thing as the “Orthodox Church” does not exist. There are, rather, Orthodox Churches and sects – hardly a witness to the Church being “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” – but that is entirely my opinion. May God bless you on your journey to Him – He who is our Life, our Light and our Salvation.

  7. Thanks for this article.
    Those in search of more detail may be interested in my article:
    http://www.liturgy.co.nz/worship/matters_files/dateofEaster20080201.html

  8. Mike,
    While it is true that many, if not most, Orthodox follow the New Calendar, their date for Easter is always Old Calendar.

  9. What doesit really matter? Is itreally that important?

  10. Yo Pete, the Roman Catholic Church has the keys to the kingdom so what is loosed on Earth is loosed in Heaven…thus the Sabbath was rightly moved to Sunday. Pope Gregory therefore had the right and the authority to change the rules regarding observing Easter. The Roman rite commits no error. There is error in disobeying the Vicar of Christ on Earth. If you reject God’s appointed Prime Minister then you reject Christ. Therefore, where does the Orthodox authority come from? Remember, Abraham is the called the Father of faith because of his “obedience” and Satan was cast out of Heaven because of his refusal to obey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.