It's that time of year again, when our friends and coworkers helpfully offer to wipe the black smudge off of our foreheads. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Roman Catholic Church. (For Eastern Rite Catholics, the first day of Lent was Clean Monday, the Monday before Ash Wednesday.)
As we begin our Lenten discipline, one excellent way to do a little bit more is to read the Bible each day. The Church provides us with selected spiritual readings for Lent. If you have children, check out these tips on how to incorporate these Lenten readings into your family life.
And remember--today is a day of strict fasting (no eating between meals, and only one full meal, with two smaller ones, for all Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59) and abstinence (no meat or food made with meat for all Catholics over the age of 14). For more details, see What Are the Rules for Fasting and Abstinence in the Catholic Church?.
And if you're looking for meatless recipes for today and the Fridays of Lent, check out an amazing selection from around the world in Lenten Recipes: Meatless Recipes for Lent and Throughout the Year.
(Catholics pray during an Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle, Washington, D.C., February 17, 2010. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images))
FAQs About Ash Wednesday:
- When Is Ash Wednesday?
- What Determines the Date of Ash Wednesday?
- How Is the Date of Ash Wednesday Calculated?
- Is Ash Wednesday a Holy Day of Obligation?
- Can Catholics Eat Meat on Ash Wednesday?
- Should Catholics Keep Their Ashes on All Day on Ash Wednesday?