Ash Wednesday and Preparing for Lent

Ash Wednesday and Preparing for Lent

Ash Wednesday comes early this year, and, in a way that maybe makes it even more meaningful, on Valentine’s Day. As we approach this important day, marking the beginning of the Lenten season in the Church, a question I often get asked by my kids, is why do we put ashes on our heads?

Ashes, an outward sign of an inward reality. 

A Mother’s Reflection on the Presentation of Our Lord Reading Ash Wednesday and Preparing for Lent 3 minutes
Ash Wednesday cross with bowl

By Colleen Pressprich

Ash Wednesday comes early this year, and, in a way that maybe makes it even more meaningful, on Valentine’s Day. As we approach this important day, marking the beginning of the Lenten season in the Church, a question I often get asked by my kids, is why do we put ashes on our heads?

Ashes, an outward sign of an inward reality. 

Ashes, especially those placed on the head, were a sign in the Old Testament that the person wearing them was in a state of penance and mourning.

When Jonah entered Ninevah and told the people that God was angry with them, the people of the city, including the king, covered themselves in ashes and began a time of fasting and prayer, asking for forgiveness. (Jonah 3:7-10)

When Job, having realized his pride, repented, he said “Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

Though public penance was still used by early Christians, it wasn’t until the reign of Pope Saint Gregory the Great that ashes on the forehead began to be used to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.

And Ash Wednesday is just the beginning! Lent is a beautiful opportunity to turn inward with our kids and dive deeper into the riches of faith. Here at Brother Francis, we’ve worked hard over the years to provide information and encouragement in a way that’s easy and accessible to families.

So in keeping with that goal, here’s a quick round-up of all of the Lenten Resources you’ll find in our blog archive, along with some Brother Francis episodes and products that might make your Lent more fruitful.

If you’re looking for explanations for your kids, check out:

Lenten Sacrifices

Explaining Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

The True Meaning of Giving Something Up

All About Palm Sunday

You might also appreciate the Let’s Learn About Lent Reader and the What is Lent Coloring Book. The Days of Lent provides daily devotionals you can read with your kids during the season of Lent. 

For How To’s, you’ll find these posts helpful:

Celebrating Ash Wednesday as a Family

Creating a Lenten Prayer Table at Home

Lent in a Busy Family

Teaching Kids to Love Lent

And don’t forget about the Brother Francis Lent Episodes! My kids love them!

With prayers for a fruitful Lent,

Colleen

Colleen Pressprich is a homeschooling mom of five and the author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children, The Women Doctors of the Church, and The Jesse Tree For Families. You can learn more about her, order her books, and read more of her writing at elevatortoheaven.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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