Dear children! Today, in a special way, I invite you to take the cross in the hands and to meditate on the wounds of Jesus. Ask of Jesus to heal your wounds, which you, dear children, during your life sustained because of your sins or the sins of your parents. Only in this way, dear children, you will understand that the world is in need of healing of faith in God the Creator. By Jesus’ passion and death on the cross, you will understand that only through prayer you, too, can become true apostles of faith; when, in simplicity and prayer, you live faith which is a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call.
March 25, 1997
• Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. On this day ashes are blessed and applied to the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of penance. In the 4th century public penitents dressed in sackcloth and were sprinkled with ashes to show their repentance. The practise of public penance gradually died out. By the 11th century it had become customary to receive ashes at the beinning of Lent, the season of penance in preparation for the celebration of Easter. On Ash Wednesday, ashes may be distributed during Mass, usually during the homily; or outside of Mass; in the latter case, the distribution takes place as part of the Liturgy of the Word. The tradional forumla for the placing of ashes on the forehead is: Remember you are dust and will return to dust. The formula, Turn from sin and live the gospel is frequently used today. In the Roman calendar, Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence.
• source: The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism
Lent in Action… SHINE IN THE SIGHT OF MEN
People who are in darkness daily come into your homes. Dear children, give them the light! March 14, 1985
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5 : 14-16
Ash Wednesday presents a wonderful opportunity to shine in the sight of men – a visible mark on the forehead.