Christ at the Center

March 2, 2022 - The Purpose of Penance is to Praise God

March 3, 2022

"Jesus said to his disciples: 'Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father'" (cf. Matthew 6:1). It is important to understand our purpose for participating in the imposition of ashes on our foreheads. We want people to be drawn to God through us. On Ash Wednesday, we remember the commitment of God toward us as the ashes are imposed with the sign of the cross. In His love for us, God does not abandon us to sin and death. Receiving the ashes is a penitential action. We resolve to undergo conversion because we have not fully loved God and our neighbor. We renew our cooperation with God to follow though on our commitment. If we engage in this action without being conscious of its purpose, then we are just parading around with ashes on our foreheads.

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