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ASH WEDNESDAY

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:44 pm
by Pam
Ash Wednesday marks the start of observation of Lent the most solemn time of the Christian Year. Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence: from the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by marking Christians with the sign of the cross in ash on their foreheads. The season is traditionally marked by self-examination, fasting and preparation for Easter. It is a time when Christians reflect on the biblical account of Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13).



It also became a time when those who were to be baptized at Easter were instructed in the Christian faith. It became customary for the whole Christian community to join them in study and self-reflection, through a period of forty days, corresponding to the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tested by Satan.



A Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all,
take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore Thee,
a heart to delight in Thee,
to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ's sake, Amen



A Prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

O Lord,
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.