Wednesday, February 17, 2010
What does Ash Wednesday mean?
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a movable observance, six and one-half weeks before Easter. It was set as the first day of Lent by Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) with the extension of an earlier and shorter penitential season to a total period including 40 weekdays of fasting before Easter. It is a day of fast and abstinence when ashes are blessed and imposed on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them of their obligation to do penance of sins, to seek spiritual renewal by means of prayer, fasting, good works and by bearing with patience and for God’s purposes the trials and difficulties of everyday life. The ashes are used to mark the forehead with the Sign of the Cross, with the reminder: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return,” or: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”
Taken from http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=458313&Pg=Forum3&Pgnu=1&recnu=25