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Ash Wednesday

A?h W?dn??d?? m?rk? th? beginning of th? ?????n of L?nt. Lent ?? a t?m? wh?n many Chr??t??n? prepare f?r E??t?r by observing a ??r??d ?f f??t?ng, r???nt?n??, m?d?r?t??n ?nd spiritual d?????l?n?.

This day ?m?h???z?? two th?m??: ?ur sinfulness b?f?r? G?d ?nd our human m?rt?l?t?. Th? ??rv??? f??u??? on b?th themes, h?l??ng us t? realize th?t b?th have b??n triumphed through the d??th and r??urr??t??n ?f J??u? Chr??t.

Dur?ng ??m? A?h W?dn??d?? ??rv????, th? minister will lightly rub th? ??gn ?f th? ?r??? w?th ??h?? onto th? foreheads of w?r?h???r?. Th? u?? ?f ??h?? ?? a ??gn ?f mortality ?nd r???nt?n?? h?? a l?ng history ?n J?w??h ?nd Christian w?r?h??. H??t?r???ll?, ??h?? ??gn?f??d purification ?nd ??rr?w for sins.

It ?? tr?d?t??n?l to ??v? the ??lm branches fr?m the ?r?v??u? P?lm Sund?? ??rv??? t? burn t? ?r?du?? ??h?? f?r th?? service. Sometimes a small card ?r ????? ?f ????r ?? d??tr?but?d ?n which each ??r??n wr?t?? a ??n or hurtful ?r unjust ?h?r??t?r??t??. The cards ?r? th?n br?ught t? the ?lt?r t? b? burn?d with th? palm br?n?h??. The ??h ?r??? ?n th? forehead is ?n outward ??gn of ?ur ??rr?w ?nd r???nt?n?? f?r sins.


Four Th?ng? t? Kn?w Ab?ut A?h Wednesday

Ash Wednesday k??k? ?ff the first d?? of L?nt ?nd ??gn?l? the ???r???h ?f E??t?r. Here are four th?ng? t? kn?w ?b?ut the d??.


  1. Purpose 

It marks f?r?t d?? of the 40 d??? of L?nt, a r?ughl? ??x-w??k period (n?t ?n?lud?ng Sundays) d?d???t?d t? reflection, ?r???r ?nd fasting ?n ?r???r?t??n f?r E??t?r. It ends ?n H?l? Thur?d??, the f?fth day ?f H?l? W??k (the w??k leading u? t? E??t?r) that m?rk? the L??t Su???r. In ?dd?t??n t? ??rt??n rules ?b?ut f??d? ?nd f??t?ng, many Chr??t??n? (?nd even non-Christians) ?b?t??n from ?dd?t??n?l f??d?, luxury or material g??d? or ??rt??n ??t?v?t??? ?nd h?b?t?.


  1. Wh?r? d? th? ??h?? ??m? ????l? ?ut on their face ??m? fr?m?

Th??'r? ?bt??n?d fr?m th? burning ?f th? ??lm? ?f th? previous Palm Sund??, which ???ur? ?n the Sund?? before Easter, and ???l??d dur?ng ??rv????. P?lm Sund?? m?rk? J??u? r?turn to J?ru??l?m, wh?n ????l? w?v?d ??lm branches t? celebrate his arrival. Th? ??h?? are t?????ll? m?x?d with H?l? W?t?r ?r ??l.


  1. What do th? ??h?? m??n?

Th? ??h??, applied in th? ?h??? ?f a ?r???, ?r? a ??mb?l of ??n?n??, mourning ?nd m?rt?l?t?. Centuries ?g?, participants u??d t? ??r?nkl? th?m??lv?? w?th ??h?? ?nd r???nt much m?r? ?ubl??l?, but the ?r??t??? fell away sometime b?tw??n th? 8th-10th ??ntur? before evolving into what ?t ?? t?d??. Th?r? aren't ?n? ??rt??ul?r rul?? ?b?ut how long th? ??h?? should b? w?rn, but most ????l? wear th?m throughout th? d?? as a public ?x?r?????n ?f their faith and penance.


  1. What else d? C?th?l??? h?v? to d??

On Ash W?dn??d??, C?th?l?? adults mu?t ?b??rv? a f??tó??t?ng ?nl? ?n? large m??l or two small meals. Th??? m??l? must n?t ??nt??n ?n? m??t. In f??t, Catholics 14 years ?nd older mu?t r?fr??n fr?m ??t?ng meat ?n every Fr?d?? fr?m Ash W?dn??d?? until Good Friday. In ????rd?n?? w?th L?nt ?? a time ?f abstinence, m?n? C?th?l??? ?h???? t? g?v? ??m?th?ng u? or ?h?ng? an ?ngr??n?d h?b?t during the 40-d?? ??r??d. Th? Chur?h also ?n??ur?g?? the f??thful to g?v? m?r? t?m? t? ?r???r ?nd charity before the ??l?br?t??n of E??t

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