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    Considering Ash Wednesday and Lent

    Today is Ash Wednesday – what exactly is this day? What are the origins? Is this something I should be aware of and participate in? This day of repentance, which for many in the Western church marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting before Easter following the example of our Lord who spent 40 days in the desert to fast and pray (Matthew 4:1-11).  It is also known as the “Day of Ashes,” so called because on that day at church the faithful have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross. 

In the Old Testament ashes were used for two purposes: as a…