~ We all came from ashes and unto ashes we will return ~
Today is Ash Wednesday (Feb 22) for Roman Catholics. Here in the Philippines, a nation of 81% Roman Catholic, it is expected that people will flock in churches to attend mass where the ashes are blessed by the priests and mark on the forehead.
Let us all be reminded on the meaning and why we are observing Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a six and a half weeks of repentance, fasting and abstinence leading to the celebration of Easter.
Ashes are something that are left when something is burned. For Christians, ashes are a symbol of repentance for the things done wrong or for the sins committed. It is also a reminder that we all come from ashes and to ashes we will return.
The marking on the forehead with ash marks the commitment to Jesus Christ and God. To show God that we are sorry for our sins. Ashes that are marked in our forehead is also the beginning of the observance of lent for each of our individual self physically and spiritually.
The ashes are made from the palm that have been kept from the last year’s Palm Sunday, burned and then mixes with holy water and then blessed. The Palm Sunday is a reminder of Jesus triumphant entry to Jerusalem, and followed by defeat, Christ crucifixion, death and the resurrection.
Marking ashes on our forehead symbolizes and reminds us that we are free from our sins through Christ's death and resurrection.
May we all pray, recollect and observe the true meaning of Lent. A blessed Lenten season to everyone.