When we receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, made in the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads, we proclaim a public penance. We acknowledge that we are in the presence of a holy God and that we are saved from the penalty of our sins through His sacrifice.
The Mass offers us several to practice humility before the lord. Below are six ways, one for each week of Lent.
1) We bless ourselves with holy water when we enter the church. Every time we make the Sign of the Cross with holy water, we bring to mind the reason for our baptisms.
2) We genuflect at the pew before entering. Once we enter the Church we realize we are in the presence of God, and need to behave in a respectful way. We drop to one knee and bow our heads facing the altar and the tabernacle before finding our seats.
3) We kneel and pray once we enter the pew. This is the time when we focus our thoughts on the reason for our coming. We kneel, put our hands together and pray that our hearts and minds are open and ready to receive Jesus.
4) We bow our heads when we say “I confess.” The ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday show the world we “confess”; bowing our heads humbly during the Act of Contrition shows God and our “brothers and sisters.”
5) We tell the Lord that we are not worthy to receive Him. Just before we receive Communion we admit our unworthiness. He only has to say the word and we are healed!
6) We bow before we receive the Holy Eucharist. Before you extend your hands or open your mouth to receive the Host, give a slight bow. You are bowing before the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
God loves a humble heart. Ash Wednesday can be the beginning of our training in humility. The ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday are to remind us exactly what we are told as we received them: “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”
Catholic Faith Resources | For Catholic Parishes | Order OSV Products | RSS | Advertise | About Us | Contact Us | Jobs