Ash Wednesday, Lent, and why I’ll have dirt on my forehead tomorrow =)

As I said in my previous post, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. You may have noticed Catholic friends on Facebook or Twitter puzzling out what they want to “give up” for Lent, or reminding themselves to receive ashes at church tomorrow. Actually, you may even have noticed your friends list noticeably decreasing, which probably means you have some friends giving up Facebook for Lent 😛 But what is Lent, and why do we do this stuff?

Lent is the liturgical season in the Catholic Church that is penitential in character and serves to prepare the faithful for they mysteries of Holy Week, which culminate in the memorial of Jesus’s suffering and death on the Cross for everyone’s sins (Good Friday) and his resurrection on Easter Sunday, which offers us the promise of everlasting life with him. Lent is a time for personal reflection on our relationship with God, especially on our sinfulness, in which we willingly choose to distance ourselves from God. It is a time for reconciliation to God, especially via the Sacrament of Confession, which in turn leads to a renewal in our spiritual lives. Lent is traditionally lived out in practical ways by taking on practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving or charity.

If you’ve looked around the Catholic blogosphere, you’ve probably already found a lot of articles written on Ash Wednesday and Lent, so instead of elaborating on my own, I’ll share a few good links here for you to check out:

http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2012/02/5-simple-ways-to-share-your-catholic.html – This is a post from the blog Aggie Catholics which shares 5 simple ways to share the Catholic faith tomorrow.

http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2012/02/21/this-lent-let-yourself-be-loved/ – This post on the social network Ignitum Today reminds us not to allow ourselves to wallow in the misery of our sinfulness, but rather to reach out and accept the mercy, forgiveness, and healing that God continually offers us, so that we can live our lives in true joy.

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/02/ash-wednesday-fasting-abstaining-and-you/ – On Father Z’s blog, he reminds us of the practical definitions and requirements of the Church in regards to fasting (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and abstinence from meat (Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent).

http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/story.php?id=44865 – Deacon Keith Fournier gives a detailed explanation of Lent: what the season is and why we do what we do.

http://lifeteen.com/why-do-catholics-put-ashes-on-our-heads-on-ash-wednesday/ – Mark Hart offers the explanation of why I’m gonna have dirt on my forehead tomorrow 🙂

In my next post, I’ll offer a few tips and tricks of my own regarding Lent, and perhaps share a couple of my own personal practices that I’ve chosen for this year.

Welcome to my new blog!

Hi everyone, and welcome to my brand new blog! If you didn’t know, today is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), which makes tomorrow Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which is the penitential liturgical season which prepares us for Holy Week, which recalls the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross on Good Friday, and culminates in Easter Sunday, celebrating Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, giving the faithful hope in eternal life with him. Traditionally during Lent, one takes up practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (charity) to help grow in our personal relationship with God.

I’ll talk more about Lent in the next post, but one of things I’ve chosen to do this year is start up this blog as a tool to help me better witness to Christ and fulfill his command to spread the Gospel as a part of the Church he founded on Earth. The Catholic Church has placed an emphasis on the New Evangelization, first articulated by Blessed Pope John Paul II, which means finding new, creative, and inspiring ways to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In keeping with this missionary spirit, I’ll be sharing interesting articles that I come across as well as some of my own writings and reflections, which hopefully lead you (and me!) to greater relationship with Christ and his Church. I hope this blog is a helpful resource to you, but even more so, I hope that it honors and glorifies God. As the Jesuits say, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam! (For the Greater Glory of God!)