To mark the beginning of Lenten Season, all Roman Catholics are encouraged to attend the Ash Wednesday Mass. The first day of the Lent for self- reflection and full preparation for penance.
Ashes are made from the previous year's palms that were blessed and burned. The priest blesses the ashes and sprinkles them the holy water, and we came to receive it and the priest dips his thumb in the ashes making the sign of the cross on each forehead as he says "Remember, man, that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." (Genesis 3:19 KJV)
What exactly is our form of penance? fasting and abstinence was first on my mind. Making me reflect and take more action on my spiritual life. Its like celebrating a new year for me, making a resolution for every aspect in my spiritual obligation and responsibilities. Going to church is one aspect that needs more attention. I felt guilty not spending an hour every week on the church, due to work schedule or high demands of "mommy time", or just simply neglecting doing so.
I know its a religious crime not having to receive the sacrament of confession since our wedding (the good rule requires atleast once per month). Sadly, that's my case- although I ask forgiveness talking to God in my prayers-- having in mind that I can go directly confess my sins and be truly sorry. Going to church is a different thing, having to talked and let yourself out open to a priest was sure one of our christian duties.
I feel relieved and worry free every after participation on mass, private worship is not enough- we are called to be christian together so we are called to come celebrate life together having God as center of our lives.
Ash Wednesday is a reflection reminding us all where we came from, we owe everything from God. Its a pure realization to live life accordingly and to turn away from sin preparing us in life to heaven.