Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Ash Wednesday


It is always falls six-and-a-half weeks before Easter Sunday. It marks the beginning time of repentance, fasting and abstinence in preparation for the most important celebration of Easter. Ashes are blessed by the Priest, and placed on the faithful forehead. The ashes is made from palm leaves of last years Palm Sunday which is collected from the faithful and burned. The palms which is converted to ashes acts as a reminder to the faithful of the defeat and crucifixion swiftly followed triumph when Christ is Risen from the dead.
Marking of forehead with ash marks our Christian commitment to Jesus Christ and God. It shows God that we are sorry for the wrong things we have done in the past year. Ashes symbolizes of our repentance and want to get rid of past sins forever. It is also reminds us that we all come from ashes, and to ashes we all will return. The moment when the forehead is marked initiates the beginning of lent for each individual faithful. Hence, we look forward to Christ's death and resurrection where all Christians will be freed from sin.


Genesis 18:27
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,

Ecclesiastes 3:20
All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.


("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart. 
CCC 2043


Three important actions we must observe during Lent season:

1. Prayer
We should spend more time in prayer during Lent to make us closer to the Lord. We also pray for our renewal in baptismal commitment which we would obtain through the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent.

2. Fasting (Abstinence)
Vatican II called us to renew the observance of the ancient paschal fast: "...let the paschal fast be kept sacred. Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind" (Liturgy, # 110). 
Fasting is more than a means of developing self-control but the hunger acts as reminder to us of our hunger for God. It also helps us realize the suffering of the many people around us and the world every day, and it should lead us to greater efforts to alleviate that suffering. Abstaining from meat is to remind us of the poor, who could seldom afford meat in their meals. A sparse and simple meal, that should be what we set for ourselves in the time of Lent. Avoiding meat while eating a hearty non-meat meal defeats the whole purpose and meaning of abstinence!

3. Almsgiving.
It is a sign of our care for those in need and an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given to us in action of charity and service to the needy. Be like the good Samaritan.
 
No specific instruction on how long ashes are to be worn. You can wash/wipe them off immediately after the mass if you choose to but many any people choose to wear their ashes for the remainder of the day. The ash marking acts both as a reminder of their own mortality and as a witness before those around that they are a follower of Christ and are entering into a season of fast, penance and abstinence.


Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

First Reading
Joel 2:12-18

12"Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.
14Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?
15Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
16gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.
17Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, "Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, `Where is their God?'"
18Then the LORD became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people

Psalm
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17

3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
12Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
14Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Second Reading
2 Corinthians 5:20 -- 6:2

20So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.
2For he says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2"Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16"And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

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