Ash Wednesday this year falls on February 13, 2013. For millions of Western Christians around the world, Ash Wednesday begins the first day of Lent; the 40 day period of reflection and prayer, abstinence and fasting, and preparing for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
For Eastern Right Christians, Clean Monday falls 2 days before Lent, and is a reminder that we need to enter this Lenten season with “good intentions and a desire to clean our spiritual house.” For Eastern Christians it is a day of “strict fasting, and abstaining from meat, eggs and dairy products.”
This Ash Wednesday Christians of various denominations will be participating in church services, including scripture readings, and having ashes placed on their foreheads as a “call to repentance”, and as a reminder of own mortality and sinfulness.
Abstinence and fasting during this season is a form of penance, but we also need to use this time to reflect and take stock of our spiritual lives. During these next few days, as you contemplate what you’re going to “give up” for Lent, remember to include some spiritual goals, and how you’d like to reach them before Easter Sunday.