Ashes imposed on forehead remind us of our weakness, says Cardinal Advincula

The Archdiocese of Manila begins the Season of Lent with Ash Wednesday Mass for the Arzobispado de Manila employees held at the Arzobispado Chapel in Intramuros, Manila, presided by Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula.

“Today, we enter into the beautiful season of Lent. We bless the Lord who has brought us again into this time of preparing our hearts for the solemn commemorations of the Mystery of the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And here we are again on our annual observance of staining our heads with ashes,” said Cardinal Advincula.

In his homily, he stressed that the ashes imposed on the faithful’s forehead serves as a reminder of our weaknesses, and to rely on God’s grace.

“Let us not allow the delusions of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, self-entitlement, and self-grandiosity to eat our hearts and cloud our minds. As the Gospel today reminds us, let us pray and serve with humility, sincerity, and total dependence on God,” he said.

With the Holy Cross as a symbol of God’s eternal love for humankind, the Cardinal reiterated that eternal life enables the heart to experience metanoia or “conversion of the heart.”

“Ang hugis krus ay paalala sa nag-iisang forever: ang pagmamahal ng Diyos, pagmamahal na walang hanggan, pagmamahal na walang pasubali. Ito lang ang mapanghahawakan natin,” he said.

“Ang totoong tumatagal at tumutuloy ay ang mahabaging pagmamahal at ang ganap na katarungan ng ating Ama sa langit,” he added.

The Manila Archbishop affirmed that God’s promise of eternal life for His people is a profession of His unconditional love.

“Even before any rejection or sin was possible, God has loved us first. Si Lord ang first love natin, and first love never dies. Siya lang ang totoong forever,” he said.

On the same day, the Cardinal also celebrated Mass at the Manila Cathedral at noon.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. It is a day of universal fasting and abstinence in the Church. Fasting is required from ages 18 to 60, while abstinence is from age 14.

The priest imposes the ash on the faithful’s forehead while saying, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return”. The ashes came from the palms that were blessed last Palm Sunday. (By Hazel Boquiren and Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC | Photo by Mio Angelo Hermoso/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)


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