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Snippet of Raising Saints, Helping Kids Hear God’s Voice: Ash Wednesday, Our Relationships on the Cross

From Audio: Ash Wednesday!
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Audio Guide to Ash Wednesday A wonderful way to prepare your heart for Easter. Examine opportunities for spiritual growth during Lent and experience God's love as you face your own mortality. Christians around the world honor Ash Wednesday by attending a special day of mass to have a priest or minister place the ash in the shape of a cross on their foreheads. The ash represents the never-ending friendship with God during the lowest points in life. Specifically, it is a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice that leads up to his resurrection. Vurbl Bible Study & Prayer
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The cross is our main focus during lent. The vertical line represents our friendship with Jesus while the horizontal line represents our relationship with each other. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us think about both relationships on the cross. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross leads us to Easter and his resurrection.
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It's Ash Wednesday already. My goodness, what a weird day, huh? That all Christians around the world are gonna flock to their churches to have a priest or a deacon or some other minister Put some dirt on their face. Right? That might look like kind of a strange day, but we're so used to it. This is such an integral part of our lives. But let's look at what's happening. Do you ever think about that ash that's placed on your forehead, right? The priest doesn't give you a little thumbprint or a star or a little circle or anything like that. No, he places the sign of the cross place is the sign of the cross on your forehead. I used to think about that a lot as a kid. Uh, perhaps with a little bit of vanity, I would run around to all my friends and and see, Did the priest to the priest do a good job? How does it look? How does it look? And even sometimes, admittedly, if it was not nice, crisp, clean cross on my forehead, I'll go wash my face and and try to get some more and do a better job, right? And even now, as a priest, I'm finding that I practice my ash technique, if you will, because I want to give everyone a nice, good looking cross in their forehead. What's so important about the cross, though? Well ah, lot, right? The cross has to be at the center of our lives on certainly is during Lent. Lent is a beautiful time for us to reflect on the cross. Of course, that's because it's on the cross that Jesus offers his life to save us. Jesus dies for us on the cross so that on Easter Sunday he might rise from the dead, proving that he's conquered sin and death in that in him, we are promised eternal life and glory in heaven. We celebrate that in a beautiful way in what's called the Paschal. Treated him right. Holy Thursday, when we celebrate the Last Supper and the institution of the priesthood. Good Friday, when we remember Christ, sacrifice for us on the cross and we venerate the cross in our churches. Right. We'll go to our parish and and have a beautiful service where we take turns, uh, genuflecting to and kissing the cross because we're so grateful for Jesus, sacrifice for us and then holy Saturday, right with culminating in the Easter vigil and then Easter Sunday, a day of the resurrection. So Christ sacrifice on the cross, certainly central for our whole lives as Christians, but especially during Lent, because leads us to Easter. It leads us to the cross and the resurrection. Something else interesting about the cross thumb. It's made up of two lines, right? There's one line that goes up and down, and that represents our friendship with Jesus, Right, because he's in heaven and we're here on earth. And so we talk about offering up our prayers, offering up our sacrifices, our relationship. Our friendship with Jesus goes up into heaven and down from heaven to us. There's another line to that goes across, and that can remind us of our relationship with our brothers and sisters here on Earth. So there's three things we focus on doing during prayer, fasting and arms giving right. We know what prayer is fasting. That's when officially we'd say we have one regular sized meal and then to smaller meals, which, if they were put together on the plate, they're not as big as that other meal, right? Keep it simple. We just eat less. Uh, then we usually would write, and we offer that sacrifice and arms giving. That's when we do works of charity. We do good things and and offer things for other people to help those in need. And all three of these things prayer, fasting and arms giving can help us focus on both of those relationships that we see represented on the cross prayer. Of course, we pray to God on we send up our prayers to him, right? But that also has an impact on our brothers and sisters. We pray for and with each other. We come together as a church to pray, especially for mass. We pray for each other and in Thanksgiving for each other, fasting when we fast that's a sacrifice we can offer to God and so that sacrifices offered upwards right to him in heaven. But also it reminds us of our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than us and maybe don't have all of the things that we have and who might be going hungry and arms giving. Of course, it's obvious how that reminds us of that line across of that relationship with our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we are and whom we can help by our good charitable works. But that also goes up to God as well, doesn't it? He tells us in the Gospels what you did for the least of my brethren you did for me. So when we do something kind for someone else, we're doing that for Jesus to prayer, fasting and arms. Giving this lint and beyond lint can help us to love each other and to love Jesus.