Ack! Ash Wednesday is, well, Wednesday! 

+JMJ+ How is it possible? I say I’m going to prepare early for Lent every year and every year Lent begins with me scrambling around at the last minute. We’ve still got a couple of days. Here are some things I’ve found tonight. First up, something that will come in handy for most of us who have non-Catholic friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors: “No, Ash Wednesday/Lent is not pagan,” a post and an audio file. Then some helpful things to help us make this Lent a blessed and spiritual occasion. (Note: I added sort of a part two of this post containing four videos I found helpful.)

Ash Wednesday and Lent are not pagan

Why Lent is Not Pagan, audio by Trent Horn for Catholic Answers. I’ve listened to part of this one but I’m still recommending it.

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies – Ash Wednesday, Ashes, and Lent, by Pastor Joseph Abrahamson. This is from a Lutheran pastor who gives a better background summary than many Catholic posts I’ve found over the years. Note how far back he traces the practices. He also notes the suppression of Ash Wednesday which he found began in the 1500s with the Calvinist Cranmer. 

A really good read. And, no, I don’t have to agree with its every point to find it useful. For example, I don’t think the ashes signify that we are only as worthy as ashes. The Lord tells us that Our Father in Heaven cares for every sparrow and how much more He cares for us. So we’re worth more than sparrows and that would seem to mean that we’re worth more than ashes, too. Ashes are meant to call to mind our origin and our mortality (dust to dust), and signify our repentance and conversion (and, seems to me, to remind us that death is coming for us all, and we know not when, so we need to get on with it).

Something to do this Lent

Total Abandonment to God’s Will: Sign up for FREE Streaming that begins Ash Wednesday, from Matthew Leonard’s Science of Sainthood. I signed up for this one just now.

The Mass Readings Explained, from Brant Pitre of Catholic Productions. Cannot recommend this one highly enough. Not free but it’s SO GOOD!

Catechism In A Year podcast on YouTube, Spotify, Apple, or the Ascension Press website, by Fr. Mike. I’ve mentioned it before and I’m mentioning it again. Highly recommended. (I’m still up to date on this and I can’t believe it! Woohoo!) (Online editions of the Catechism you can use for free at the USCCB, the Vatican, St. Charles Borromeo, and Catholic Culture.)

Bible In A Year podcast on the Ascension Press website, YouTube, Spotify, or Apple, also by Fr. Mike Schmitz. Highly recommended.

Leaning Into Lent: Father Mike Schmitz’s Tips for a Fruitful Penitential Season: ‘We are trusting that God sees our sacrifices and that they make a difference.’

Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours: You can use the website to pray the hours for free. I use the app on my phone or iPad and the website on my laptop. You can use the text or you can listen and pray along with audio files. No flipping around the book, wondering where you’re supposed to be and wishing you had not spent $30 or more for a book you don’t know how to use. 

I may have experienced something like that personally, ahem, but, thanks be to God, a friend stepped in and showed me what to do. Well, he introduced me to the whole Divine Office way of prayer, so it was only fair. Once I stopped kicking myself for not catching on immediately, I picked it up pretty well. Also, the website indicates which volume to use, where to put the ribbons, and other details for each day. So helpful!

10 Simple Suggestions for a Successful Lent: Spiritual practices will aid your Lenten journey for a fruitful 40 days.

That’s it for tonight. Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. May we grow in holiness and virtue in the fast approaching Lenten season, and, by His grace, become the saints the Lord intends us to be. God bless you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+

(Note: I added sort of a part two of this post containing four videos I found helpful.)

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Image credit: Christ in the Wilderness, by Moretto da Brescia (Alessandro Bonvicino), the Met Museum, public domain.

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Copyright: All original material on Catholic Heart and Mind is Copyright © 2009-2023 Lee Lancaster. All rights reserved. Read more.

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