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All Issues > Volume 18, Issue 2


<< Wednesday, February 13, 2002 >> Ash Wednesday
 
Joel 2:12-18
2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2

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Psalm 51
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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HEART-WRENCHING ASHES

 
"Even now, says the Lord, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts." —Joel 2:12-13
 

When we receive ashen crosses on our foreheads, we are saying:

  • We have sinned (1 Jn 1:9).
  • We have sinned seriously because we have sinned against an all-holy God Who has loved us perfectly (see 1 Jn 4:16).
  • We have repented.
  • We publicly admit that we are responsible to begin repairing the extensive damages from our sins.
  • We have hope in Jesus and His cross.
  • We are beginning a lifestyle of repentance and reparation, especially during the Lenten season.

Because of the meanings of our ashen crosses, receiving ashes is not a trivial matter. We may even decide to delay the reception of ashes until our hearts match our words, for to receive ashes is to rend our hearts (Jl 2:13). The Lord calls us to tear our hearts because they are hardened (Ps 95:8) and need to be cleansed (Ps 51:12). An open, cleansed heart is wholly surrendered to the Lord (see Jl 2:12).

Will the ashen cross remain on your heart after it has been wiped off your forehead? Do you have the heart to receive ashes today?

 
Prayer: Crucified Jesus, make my heart like Yours.
Promise: "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" —2 Cor 6:2
Praise: Margaret makes a point of going to a morning Mass on Ash Wednesday so she can have the opportunity to explain the ashes to others throughout the day.
 
 
 
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001
 
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 18, Issue 2
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