Ash Wednesday: The Beginning
By Albin Arulanandu
On Wednesday February 14, we, Catholic Christians, began our Lenten journey with Christ, each of us in our own desert. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of our journey as Catholics as we go through a deep season of prayer while reflecting on how Jesus had sacrificed himself for our freedom, for us, the people that had crucified him. This day symbolizes the beginning of the death and resurrection of Christ 40 days later. Through this journey of reflection and self-absorbance among the followers and believers of Jesus, it all starts with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday.
Ashes are a symbol of repentance and help us understand the scriptures as told in Genesis 3:19, “For dust you are and to dust you shall return”. This passage helps show the importance of the use of dust as ashes are not directly mentioned in the Bible, but there are many references to the use of ashes in our faith. One example is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, IV. Interior Penance, 1430, “Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before Him, does not aim first at outward works, ‘sackcloth and ashes,’…….”
At St Thomas More, we start this solemn beginning very beautifully for the past decade and a half. The Mass is beautifully resilient as the it solemnly and gracefully introduces the beginning of the journey that we Catholics all travel throughout these forty days. Throughout the Mass, the mood is graceful as everyone seems eager to begin their journey with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Then at the end of Mass we are all deemed the ashes as they symbolize our fate.
When we receive the ashes, we, the minsters and the priest say this phrase, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”. This phrase is heavily emphasized throughout this day as it is the emphasis to the beginning of Lent. As one is able to understand their own purpose and fate in life then only are they able to understand how everyone is unique and different but we are all brothers and sisters in God, as we all started the same way and will die the same way, as the sons and daughters of God.
Ash Wednesday is a great time to understand and discover more in depth your relationship with God and truly understand that everyone has their own cross to carry throughout their life. Ash Wednesday also lets you understand yourself better and understand your connection with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If you were not able to make it this year, then have your calendars marked for next year as you surely do not want to miss the opportunity to connect with God and understand your relationship with Him, as you walk the way of Our Lord as He sacrificed himself for us so that we may live.April 11, 2018