Got this e-mail today from my friend, Isabella, via my sister. I guess she thought I might need some education on this holiday, and she is right:
The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites the faithful (I.e. anyone who is interested) to a forty-day journey of renewal through the remembrance of our baptism (i.e. our intention in life) and meditation on the cross. The imposition of ashes is an act of recognizing our humanness not only by acknowledging our mortality but by confessing once again the wonder of God’s love for his people and the world.
While Lent is a time of sobriety and leanness, it is not without joy. Lent is a time of renewal, during which God’s people prepare with joy for the paschal feast. The season of Lent draws to a close with the Holy Week observance of the Triduum (The Three Days). The invitation to Lent on Ash Wednesday culminates with the individual absolution on Maundy Thursday, the adoration of the cross on Good Friday, and the Resurrection Proclamation of Easter Sunday.