Find out why catholic faithfuls celebrate ash Wednesday

a priest applies ashes on a faithful’s face/curtersy
BY EURIDICE NZIOKA,NAIROBI,28TH FEB,2017-What comes in your mind when you come across someone with his or her forehead marked with ash in the shape of a cross? You may think this person has physiological problems but the true is, this person is absolutely normal and the mark on his forehead has a significance meaning. This article will help us understand more about ash Wednesday and why do christian honor it.
The ashes  applied in the shape of a cross are a symbol of penance, mourning and mortality. In the old testament ,participants used to sprinkle themselves with ashes and repent much more publicly.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of lent , the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. It falls 46 days before Easter.
 In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.
Catholics may have adopted the practice as the way to righteousness as described in the book of Revelation, where we come to know about the servants of God.The reference to the sealing of the servants of God for their protection in Revelation is an allusion to a parallel passage in Ezekiel, where Ezekiel also sees a sealing of the servants of God for their protection.
“And the LORD said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ And to the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity; slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:4-6)
In the Old Testament ashes were found to have used for two purposes: as a sign of humility.
and mortality; and as a sign of sorrow and repentance for sin.
Let’s look at the biblical significance of ashes;

-When Tamar was raped by her half-brother, ‘she sprinkled ash on her head, tore her rope and with her buried in her hands went away crying (2Samuel 13:19).

-The gesture was also used to express sorrow for sins and faults. In Job 42:3-6, Job says to God “I have heard of thee by hearing of the year but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore i abhor myself and repent in  ashes.”
-The prophet Jeremiah calls  for repentance by saying,” O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes (Jeremiah 6:26)
-Just prior to the new testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence the Maccabees prepared for the battle using ashes. That day they fasted and wore sackcloth. They even sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes (1Maccabees 3:47,4:39). The examples revealing the importance of ashes as revealed in the old testaments is endless.
We all have different beliefs when it comes to Christianity faith , we may criticize our brothers ,sisters or even our friends but all in all, let’s respect each one’s faith and to our Catholics and others who honor ash  Wednesday , wishing you blessed day and successful lent  period.
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