Monday, March 07, 2011

Preparing for Lent

Today, I prepared the ashes for Ash Wednesday. The ashes used in the ceremony come from the burning of palms from the previous Palm Sunday. They are sprinkled on the head as a sign of penance and mortification. For clerics, it is usually placed on the tonsure and for laity, it is put on the forehead in the shape of a cross.

The blessing and imposition of ashes concludes with this prayer in the old rite:

Grant us, O Lord, to begin with holy fasting this campaign of our Christian warfare: that as we do battle with spiritual wickedness, we may be defended by the aids of self-denial; through Christ our Lord. Amen

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