In the Western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty days before Easter (excluding Sundays). It falls on a different date each year, because it is dependent on the date of Easter; it can occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10.
On this day ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them of Christ's sacrafice, of the sorrow they should feel for their sins, and of the necessity of changing their lives. The practice, which dates from the early Middle Ages, is common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Episcopalians, and many Lutherans; it was also adopted by some Methodists and Presbyterians in the 1990s.
St. Ephraim the Syrian (AD 305-373)
O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not the spirit of laziness,despair,
lust of power, and idle talk. (prostration)
But give rather the spirit of sobriety,humility,
patience and love to Thy servant. (prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressionsand
not to judge my brother,
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.
Scriptures for reflection for ash wednesday this year
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Psalm 103 or 103:8-14
see Living water ancient well ash wednesday (1)