As he tugged on my shirt I looked down at my littlest guy Jake. He whispered to me “Mommy, what is Father going to put on my forehead?”
“Ashes, just a little bit though. He will say “Turn away from sin and be Faithful to the Gospel”. That means he wants you to be good and do what Jesus teaches us to do. You are going to say Amen, which means you agree to try to do that. Ok?” I whispered back during Ash Wednesday Mass.
This is the conversation Jake and I had when he was 4 years old. Now he is 6 and proud that he knows what will happen. Each year on Ash Wednesday evening our family gathers around our dinner table, ashes on our foreheads, and talks about what we want to give up, sacrifice, for Lent as well as what we want to change. In our family we do both. One is to sacrifice for Jesus and the other is a positive change to become a better person. We hope that the habit we change will be changed for a lifetime. Throughout Lent we remind and encourage each other about our sacrifices and changes. So that on Good Friday when we attend the service as a family my children feel the connection between their heartfelt sacrifice and Jesus’ sacrifice. When they lay their small hands upon that wooden cross and say a silent prayer. Then on Easter they celebrate and hopefully feel like a new creation in Christ because they have changed a little part of themselves just for Him.