Ash Wednesday Kicks Off Lent: A Period of Fasting and Preparation

Most people think of this Wednesday, February 14, as Valentine’s Day. That is true, but this year it is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. While it is always nice to show special attention to those we love, as we kick off Lent this Ash Wednesday, let us remember what Lent is all about. As Catholics, when we receive ashes we are reminded, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This reinforces that Lent is a time to strip away the material or frivolous parts of our lives and concentrate on our true selves. We are reminded that it is a time of inner reflection and growth in preparation for the risen Christ. Forty days! Forty days that we set aside to fast and prepare ourselves.

People often shy away from the thought of fasting, because it carries with it the thought of sacrifice, which let’s face it, is a thought not many of us relish. This year, however, let’s turn to the words of Pope Francis as guidance to think about fasting in a new way.

Do you want to fast this Lent?

  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen

This Lent, let us use his words to help us: pray, fast, give.

Services and ash distribution for each campus are as follows:

  • Infirmary: Mass at 12 PM – Followed by distribution of ashes. 6 PM Distribution of ashes (no service). Ashes available until 8 PM – contact on-call chaplain at 350.3577.
  • Hot Springs: Ashes distribution by calling chaplain at ext. 1034
  • North: 11 AM
  • Morrilton: 2 PM