Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for millions of Christians worldwide. It is the first day of Lent that commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert and enduring Satan's temptation before he began his ministry.

The date of Ash Wednesday is exactly 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. However, the date varies each year according to the date of Easter.

It is a solemn occasion for Christian believers to reflect on human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God.

According to the Ash Wednesday customs in the Roman Catholic church, ashes are made from burning the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday. They are then applied in the shape of a cross on the forehead of each worshipper. It is an obligatory day of fasting and abstinence.

Following are some quotes that will help you to reflect on the spirit of the Lenten season. (courtesy: Quotement)

  1. "Ash Wednesday is full of joy… The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust." – Thomas Merton
  2. "Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull, perhaps, by a life more marked by routine than by reflection." – Joan Chittister
  3. "Wear your ashes as a proud witness to your belief in Christ, answer any questions that come, and you just might inspire someone else to start his or her own faith journey." – J. Beckmann
  4. "We can feel a little funny with ashes on our foreheads, but that's how we mark the start of Lent. Ashes don't say we're holy. They say we're sinners. They don't say we're perfect, only that we're willing to try. They don't say we're models of religiosity, but they do say we belong. In today's world, that says a lot." – Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, RSM
  5. "Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy." – Pope Francis
  6. "By inviting us through the discipline of Lent to tread the paths of love and hope marked out by Christ, the Church makes us realize that the Christian life involves detachment from superfluous goods, and the acceptance of a poverty which sets us free, and enables us to discover God's presence and to welcome our brothers and sisters with an ever more active solidarity and in an ever wider fellowship." – Pope Saint John Paul II
  7. "As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst… Repent and believe." – St. Mother Teresa
  8. "There's something about it that makes sense, Lent. You give something up, and everything's more joyful." – Elaine Stritch
  9. "This Lent is the perfect time to be a living witness to the gospel, but that witness should continue even after Easter. That does not mean that you should give up coffee for the rest of your life or that you should never spend another Saturday morning watching television, but it does mean that our desire to make sacrifices out of love for Jesus shouldn't end just because Lent does." – J. Beckmann
  10. "Some people think that having ash on your forehead is ridiculous. But I am neither ashamed or afraid because the ashes remind me that I have to someday pass away and reunite with my creator." – Walter Burns
Ash Wednesday
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