The beads have been tossed.

The floats have crossed.

And Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, 2012 is now a day in history.

Let’s now remember the entire reason for the season– Lent. The forty-six day period that leads towards Easter Sunday.

According to Loyola Mission and Ministry, “Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned.”

This is a time for sacrifice, self- reflection, contrition, and prayer.

Prayer can begin with reading God’s word in the inerrant Scriptures.

Scripture gives wonderful advice about the Lenten season in Matthew 6:16-18, saying,

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Christians, the Bible is a tool to help us through Lent, and lead us closer to Christ. This season allows us the opportunity to learn from the past and plan to improve in the future.

Lent encourages the Jesuit attitudes of reverence, generosity, and forgiveness. These can be found through personal experiences and by following the requirements of Lent.

The requirements for Catholics starting on Ash Wednesday include abstaining from meat, fasting by only eating one meal a day, and imitating Christ in everyday actions through penance.

Loyola is offering an Ash Wednesday mass at the Ignatius Chapel at 9 P.M, and also a Midday Mass at 12:30 P.M.

Lent is not only practiced by Roman Catholics, but also celebrated by other Christian groups including Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Baptists, and Presbyterians.

For a person not practicing Catholicism but Lent, St. Charles Presbyterian Church and St. Anna’s Episcopal Church are celebrating an Ash Wednesday service at 12:00 P.M.

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