Many of us Catholics will go to church on Ash Wednesday, March 1, to have our foreheads marked with ashes. It is most important to be conscious of our reason for doing so. The blessed ashes on our foreheads signify our intention to repent for our sins and change. Without such, they are devoid of meaning and obtain nothing for us but dirt on our foreheads.
Our Catechism (CCC 1430) reminds us that Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first for external works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but the conversion of heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.
As we begin Lent, let us pray that God will inundate our hearts with true desire and resolution for change in our life. Let us place our hope in him and trust in the help of his grace.