The meaning of Lent

Ashes - reminder of our mortal bodies

We have just celebrated Ash Wednesday with fast, abstinence, prayer and imposition of ashes on our foreheads.

When I was a boy, I still remember the words the priest uttered when imposing the ashes on my forehead – “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return”. These words of my priest were so meaningful that I still remember them by heart and repeat them to my children, who like many of the youngsters today, hardly appreciate their significance.

Those days not many of us were able to attend mass on Ash Wednesday. Sometimes we were not able to even fast because of school or work related activities.

The imposition of ashes reminds us, despite our social status, that we are all mere mortals and our physical bodies would perish one day. Reflecting on those words of the priest makes us realize that greed for material comforts is indeed foolish. In fact it is more important to cultivate the love of Christ that is within each and every one of us, which will bring everlasting rewards from God.

Today we leave our jobs and take leave to fast, abstain and receive the ashes without fail, but does the significance of the act really touch us in any way? Many of us don’t even know what the priest is saying or doing. We receive the ashes because it is a trend which we have to follow.

This is the reality of the fast moving world today, to follow the trend without knowing the meaning of our actions. If we don’t we’ll be left behind.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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