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Ash Wednesday
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Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable feast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this forty day liturgical period of prayer and fasting.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.

This practice is common in much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and some Baptist denominations.

A video from www.apostleshipofprayer.org

Hello, this is father James Kubicki, wishing you a happy and blessed Lent. Maybe that sounds strange to you, a happy Lent? Isn’t Lent supposed to be a sorrowful season giving things up, fasting  and all. And look how we begin ashes in the forehead and those scary words: ‘remember you are dust and to dust you shall return’.

That doesn’t sound very happy now, does it? No one likes to think about being dust, about dying and becoming dust, and yet, what’s better, ignoring reality and going alone whistling in the dark valley of death, or facing reality and living in the light of truth?

Truth be told, you and I are going to die, but this reality shouldn’t depress us? Psalm 90 says, ‘teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart’. That’s what makes Lent a happy time the wisdom that we can have if we open ourselves up to the grace of this holy season.

Though we are made of dust, we are not made for earth, we are made for eternal life and happiness with God forever in heaven. Lent is a time to remember this and if there are things that have gotten in the way of your achieving your goal, to let go them. Isn’t it really a happy thought?

God wants you with him forever. The only thing that can get in the way of that is your own rejection of God. Something that happens when you make other things like pleasure, possessions or prestige more important than him. Choose God then, and be happy.

Father James Kubicki is the national director of “The Apostleship of Prayer”. For prayer resources and to learn more about “The Apostelship of Prayer”, visit their website, at “apostleshipofprayer.org”.

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