Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Containers of palm ashes for Ash Wednesday, at Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church (the College Church) at Saint Louis University, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Ashes and holy water aspergillum (sprinkler), for Ash Wednesday, at Saint Francis Xavier Church, in Saint Louis.
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.
— The traditional formula said when receiving ashes on the forehead this day.
Let us change our garments for ashes and sackcloth: let us fast and lament before the Lord: for plenteous in mercy is our God to forgive our sins...
— From the Mass for Ash Wednesday, according to the 1962 missal.

We must remember that Lent has a horizontal aspect also — along with prayer, fasting, and self-mortification, we are to practice almsgiving. In a reading from the Liturgy of the Hours for today, Isaiah tells us that we must deal justly and charitably with others if our penance is to be recognized at all.

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