For millions of people around the world, today will be observed as Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.
Many Christians will line up in church and get a smudge on the forehead in the shape of a cross. Clergy applying the ashes will quote Genesis: “You are dust and to dust you shall return,” a reminder of human mortality.
On Ash Wednesday, many Christians fast and begin penance by giving up something for Lent. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day of indulgence allowed before the period of fasting and penitence.
Lent is a period of spiritual preparation for Easter Sunday, the celebration of the resurrection, which falls this year on April 9.
In his 2023 message for Lent, Pope Francis urged Christians to focus on Jesus, read the scriptures and help those in need.
“We need to listen to Jesus,” Pope Francis said this week. “Lent is a time of grace to the extent that we listen to him as he speaks to us.”
On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, adult Catholics over the age of 14 traditionally abstain from eating meat including beef, chicken, pork, lamb, venison and most other meats. Fish, eggs, milk grains, fruit and vegetables are allowed.
That’s why many restaurant chains historically began to offer fish sandwiches. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was invented in 1962 in response to falling hamburger sales on Fridays during Lent.
Lenten fasting exceptions are made for pregnant women, those who are sick, the elderly and very young.
Lent is intended as a time of personal spiritual improvement.
“During this liturgical season, the Lord takes us with him to a place apart,” Pope Francis said. “While our ordinary commitments compel us to remain in our usual places and our often repetitive and sometimes boring routines, during Lent we are invited to ascend ‘a high mountain’ in the company of Jesus and to live a particular experience of spiritual discipline — ascesis — as God’s holy people.”
Reading the Bible and helping the needy are an important part of Lent.
“In addition to the Scriptures, the Lord speaks to us through our brothers and sisters, especially in the faces and the stories of those who are in need,” Pope Francis said.
“Do not take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events and dramatic experiences, out of fear of facing reality and its daily struggles, its hardships and contradictions,” the pope said.
“The light that Jesus shows the disciples is an anticipation of Easter glory, and that must be the goal of our own journey, as we follow ‘him alone,’” he said. “Lent leads to Easter: the ‘retreat’ is not an end in itself, but a means of preparing us to experience the Lord’s passion and cross with faith, hope, and love, and thus to arrive at the resurrection.”
Pope Francis said the purpose of Lenten penance is “overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross.”
It’s a time of self-examination, he said.
“To deepen our knowledge of the Master, to fully understand and embrace the mystery of his salvation, accomplished in total self-giving inspired by love, we must allow ourselves to be taken aside by him and to detach ourselves from mediocrity and vanity,” Pope Francis said. “We need to set out on the journey, an uphill path that, like a mountain trek, requires effort, sacrifice, and concentration.”
Read On "AL.com"
Broome scored nine of Auburn’s first 11 points against Kentucky and helped force two early shot-clock violations against the Wildcats, as the Tigers started strong on the road. He helped Kentucky dominate the glass, as Auburn was outrebounded, 41-23, on the afternoon — with the Wildcats grabbing 12 offensive rebounds to the Tigers’ 13 defensive boards. Auburn didn’t get any points from its bench until the 14:36 mark in the second half, when K.D. Kentucky made Auburn pay from deepKentucky isn’t a volume-shooting team from 3-point range, but they usually make them count from deep. Against Auburn, it was a similar story for Kentucky, which shot 8-of-13 from 3-point range at Rupp Arena.1 month ago AL.com
Nate Oats knew the question was coming and this was what he offered? https://t.co/56ruaMpfJe — Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 21, 2023My column on Nate Oats and the dumpster fire at Alabama is on the way. https://t.co/sbO2HHmzdv — Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) February 21, 2023The best player (Brandon Miller) on a projected No. https://t.co/0gT6yEWjfP — Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 21, 2023This is flat out cringe-worthy from Nate Oats. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case.1 month ago AL.com
Jimmie Johnson sent a jolt through the track when he shot to the top of the leaderboard in practice for the Daytona 500. 48, the only number he’s ever used at NASCAR’s top level; that now belongs to Daytona 500 pole-sitter Alex Bowman, Johnson’s successor at Hendrick Motorsports. The Daytona 500 will be live streamed on fuboTV, which offers a free trial. But the Daytona 500 is the Daytona 500. I always think in my lifetime that I wanted to do the Le Mans 24-hour race, the Indy 500, and the Daytona 500.1 month ago AL.com
Bruce Willis’ loved ones provided an update on the actor’s condition, noting the “Die Hard” star, who stepped away from his work in 2022, has a form of dementia that affects his ability to communicate. “Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces,” Moore wrote. “FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” the family statement said in the link provided. “Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible.”Last month, social media posts by the actor’s daughter, Rumer Willis, and other family members revealed Willis had been diagnosed with aphasia. READ: Bruce Willis’ 10 best movies ranked1 month ago AL.com
The XFL will return in one week with 26 players from Alabama high schools and colleges on the active rosters of its eight teams. The XFL rosters have six players apiece from Alabama and Auburn, three each from South Alabama and Troy and one apiece from Jacksonville State and Samford. Eleven of the XFL players are former Alabama high school standouts. The XFL teams train and practice in Arlington, Texas, during the week, then travel for games in the home team’s host city. XFL teams reduced their training-camp rosters to 51 players this week.1 month ago AL.com
“Magic Mike’s Last Dance” has arrived, and we’re getting the lowdown on the lap dances you’ll see on a big screen near you, specifically one between co-stars Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek Pinault. “It is ... you are ... he’s like ... he’s Channing all over your Tatum is what he’s doing,” Kimmel says. More on Channing Tatum: Channing Tatum’s 10 best movies rankedChanning Tatum: ‘anywhere they say y’all, that’s where I call home’Which Alabama celebrities have the largest social media followings? In the original “Magic Mike,” Tatum plays a male stripper who teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women and make easy money. READ: 7 reasons guys might enjoy ‘Magic Mike XXL’1 month ago AL.com
The Pro Bowl games are set for Sunday, Feb. 5. The NFL finally stopped pretending its all-star game was an actual game, and is breathing life into the exhibition with Sunday’s Pro Bowl Games. The total points from all the contests will be the score entering the third and final flag football game. The Pro Bowl event is set for 2 p.m. (3 p.m. The Pro Bowl Games will be broadcast on ESPN and ABC.1 month ago AL.com