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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today is Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Lent

"You are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season, for Catholics and other Christian denominations all over the world. I hope that, despite your busy schedule, my dear folks and friends, you had the opportunity or time to attend the church/worship service today and that you received ashes from your pastor/priest (or other church ministers) by placing them on your forehead (with the sign of the cross) as he utters, "Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return," or "Repent and believe in the Gospel." I just had it today in my parish. Thank God that I was able to make it. Know what? I was kinda late, about ten minutes and it was hard to find a parking for our van. Observably, church attendance was almost full today. Well, that's usually the case, I guess so, especially this time of the year in which we have those guests and visitors, non-regular parishioners.

Btw, what is the significance of this ancient practice, this traditional church ritual of receiving ashes on our forehead, you ask? Simply it reminds us that, as human beings living in this physical world, we'll one day  pass away, face the inevitable---our mortality---and continue our journey to another world where we finally meet our Maker. That's what we believe. That's our faith.

What do I know about Lent? And how do we prepare ourselves for this holy Easter season. Let me think and recall what I learned so far: Lent  is a time to do repentance and penance; an opportunity to examine our lives, do some sacrifices, i.e. giving up something that we used to do/have/enjoy, especially today, Ash Wednesday and on Fridays which are days of fasting and abstinence.

Fasting is observed by all 18 years of age and older, who have not yet celebrated their 59th birthday. One full meal is allowed on a fast day. However, two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.

On the other hand, abstinence is observed by all 14 years of age and older. No meat is allowed on days of abstinence. However, when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday are days of abstinence.

Lent involves praying, fasting, alms-giving, while doing some meditation (on the Stations of the Cross), reflections on the Passion, Suffering and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.It is a time of spiritual/faith renewal. It's that time to learn to know more about our faith, about Jesus Christ, especially, if we're trying (our best) to follow His Words and teachings.

This Lent, I try to live and enjoy life well, especially the present moment, with prayer and thanksgiving, and charity. Likewise, I'll continue to do simple acts of love for others, as much as I can, and trying to forget myself for others.

Now, let me ask you, fellow Catholics and Christians, if there's one thing that you'd like to (temporarily) give up during the season of Lent, what would it be?

Well, my dear folks and friends, this is all for now. Thanks for your time, reading my thoughts for today. Hope and pray that you're all doing well. Take care and Have a nice day! As always, I pray, "May God bless us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 13February2013


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