Ash Wednesday – Lent begins today
The season of Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. It is an opportunity for us to grow in our awareness of God’s presence in our lives. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, and yet it is one of the days during the liturgical year on which very large numbers of people normally participate in the ceremony of the distribution of ashes.*
Ashes were an ancient symbol of repentance; they remind us of our mortality. On this day we recognize our human frailty. When we are marked with ashes we acknowledge our need to change ourselves at a deeper level and our willingness to enter into Lent as a time during which we will strive towards an inner conversion of heart.
“Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you will return”
“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.”
* Ashes Options 2021
- Blessing online (by Fr. Damien at 10.00 a.m. Mass) of ashes/earth for parishioners at home
- Blessing of ashes/earth with Holy Water at home
- Administered by someone in your ‘Bubble’
Ash Wednesday Reflection
A Lenten Reflection for Ash Wednesday
Lord you said to your followers “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” Lord grant us the grace to get to know you as our friend over this Lenten season.
Help us to:-
Give up complaining – To become grateful
Give up negativity – To be positive
Give up judgement – To think kind thoughts
Give up bitterness – So we will forgive everyone
Give up gossiping – And control the tongue
Give up discouragement – To be full of hope
Give up grudges – So we will forgive everyone
Give up meanness – Instead return good for evil
Give up anger – To be more patient
Give up sin – And turn to virtue
Give up giving up – And hang in there
Give up gloom – To enjoy the beauty of the world
Give up worry – To trust God
Lord God, teach us humility and help our love for you and one another to grow. May our faith grow stronger and our selfishness weaker. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
First Week of Lent
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. Mark 1:12–13
Is temptation good? Certainly it’s not a sin to be tempted. Otherwise our Lord could never have been tempted Himself. But He was. And so are we. As we enter into the first full week of Lent, we are given the opportunity to ponder the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.
Temptation is never from God. But God does permit us to be tempted. Not so that we fall, but so that we grow in holiness. Temptation forces us to rise up and make a choice either for God or for the temptation. Though mercy and forgiveness are always offered when we fail, the blessings that await those who overcome temptation are numerous.
Jesus’ temptation did not increase His holiness, but it did afford Him the opportunity to manifest His perfection within His human nature. It is that perfection we seek and His perfection that we must strive to imitate as we face the temptations of life. Let’s look at five clear “blessings” that can come from enduring the temptations of the evil one. Ponder these carefully and slowly:
- First, enduring a temptation and conquering it helps us see the strength of God in our lives.
- Second, temptation humbles us, stripping away our pride and our struggle of thinking we are self-reliant and self-made.
- Third, there is great value in completely rejecting the devil. This not only robs him of his ongoing power to deceive us, but it also clarifies our vision of who he is so that we can continue to reject him and his works.
- Fourth, overcoming temptation clearly and definitively strengthens us in every virtue.
- Fifth, the devil would not tempt us if he were not concerned about our holiness. Thus, we should see temptation as a sign that the evil one is losing hold of our lives.
Ash Wednesday Psalm
Have mercy on me God in your kindness
In your compassion blot out my offence
O wash me more and more from my guilt
And cleanse me from my sin
A pure heart create for me, O God
Put a steadfast spirit within me
Nor deprive me of your holy spirit
My offences truly I know them
My sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned:
What is evil in your sight I have done.
Give me again the joy of your help;
With a spirit of fervour sustain me,
O Lord open my lips
And my mouth shall declare your praise
Lent is a time to think of others
Times are difficult for everyone at the moment particularly the most vulnerable people in the world. This week perhaps we can help the Lenten Campaign of Trocaire. Trocaire is the overseas development agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which facilitates. our commitment to the needs of the Third World.
Read more: Trocaire
Readings for Ash Wednesday
The First Reading from Joel reminds us to Turn to the Lord our God again, that God is tenderness and compassion, that we should Order a fast and proclaim a solemn assembly
Have mercy on us Lord, for we have sinned / My offences truly I know them / a pure heart create for me O God / Give me again the joy of your help. (Psalm).
St. Paul (Second Reading) calls us to Be reconciled to God, reminds us that this is the acceptable time, this is the day of salvation.
When we give alms, when we pray, when we fast – we should do it in private. (Gospel).
On Ash Wednesday, we are encourage to acknowledge and return to God, be Repentant and be aware of God’s mercy and compassion,
Lord, stay close on this our Lenten journey.
Help us as we prepare to meet you at the foot of the cross.
Forgive us as we ask for your forgiveness,
and, through our fasting,
let our hearts break open to the great hunger and injustices of this world. Amen
Through our annual Lenten observance, Lord, deepen our
understanding of the mystery of Christ, and make it a reality in
the conduct of our lives.
Renew us in spirit. Give us the strength to purify our hearts,
To control our desires, and so serve you in freedom.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen
Today’s Mass Readings
Sunday’s Mass Readings
Thought for Today
Saints of the Day
Lots more Lenten resources here