Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance.
The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned. In the liturgical practice of some churches, the ashes are mixed with the Oil of the Catechumens (one of the sacred oils used to anoint those about to be baptized), though some churches use ordinary oil.
This paste is used by the priest who presides at the service to make the sign of the cross, first upon his own forehead and then on each of those present who kneel before him at the altar rail. As he does so, he recites the words: “Remember (O man) that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This period is still important to me, despite my lingering issues with the Church.
In past years, I focused on being the best man I could be for my wife and daughter. There’s no reason not to double-down on that and, while doing so, being grateful for God for placing these two wonderful women in my life.
As for actual sacrifices, I am giving up Twitter.
Just kidding! I joke each year about giving up social media for Lent, but writing on Facebook and Twitter are part of my job.
Instead, I’ll be giving up table salt, cheese, Bloody Marys (my favorite drink), and soda. That way, several times during the day, when I pass on a sprinkle of salt, I will be reminded of my faith and the need to be a better man, husband and father.