top of page

Ash Wednesday


Martyrology -22nd February

On the morrow we keep the feast of the See of the holy Apostle Peter, wherein he first sat at Antioch, in which city the disciples were first called Christians.

On the same 22nd day of February were born into the better life:

At Hierapolis, in Phrygia, holy Papias, Bishop of that city, who was the hearer of the holy elder John, and the companion of Polycarp.

At Salamis, in Cyprus, holy Aristion, who, as the said Papias doth testify, was one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ.

In Arabia are commemorated many holy martyrs who were cruelly slain under the Emperor Galerius Maximian.

At Alexandria, holy Abilius, Pope of that see, who was the second who held it after the blessed Evangelist Mark, and administered his office with an eminent manifestation of grace.

At Vienne, holy Paschasius, Bishop of that see, very famous for his learning and the holiness of his life.

At Cortona, in Tuscany, [in the year 1297,] holy Margaret, of the third order of St. Francis, whose body hath marvellously remained incorrupt for more than four hundred years, breathing a sweet savour, and famous for many miracles, and is there deeply honoured.

And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God


Morning Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Place Yourself in the Presence of God, and adore His holy Name.

Most holy and adorable Trinity, one God in three Persons, I believe that Thou art here present: I adore Thee with the deepest humility, and render to Thee, with my whole heart, the homage which is due to Thy sovereign majesty.

An Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

An Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

An Act of Love

O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

Thank God for All Favours and Offer Yourself to Him.

O my God, I most humbly thank Thee for all the favours Thou hast bestowed upon me up to the present moment. I give Thee thanks from the bottom of my heart that Thou hast created me after Thine own image and likeness, that Thou hast redeemed me by the precious blood of Thy dear Son, and that Thou hast preserved me and brought me safe to the beginning of another day. I offer to Thee, O Lord, my whole being, and in particular all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings of this day. I consecrate them all to the glory of Thy name, beseeching Thee that through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour they may all find acceptance in Thy sight. May Thy divine love animate them, and may they all tend to Thy greater glory.

Resolve to Avoid Sin and to Practice Virtue.

Adorable Jesus, my Saviour and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve and will endeavour this day to imitate Thy example, to be, like Thee, mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and resigned. I will redouble my efforts that I may not fall this day into any of those sins which I have heretofore committed (here name any besetting sin), and which I sincerely desire to forsake.

Ask God for the Necessary Graces.

O my God, Thou knowest my poverty and weakness, and that I am unable to do anything good without Thee; deny me not, O God, the help of Thy grace; proportion it to my necessities; give me strength to avoid anything evil which Thou forbiddest, and to practise the good which Thou hast commanded; and enable me to bear patiently all the trials which it may please Thee to send me.

The Lord’s Prayer...

The Hail Mary...

The Apostles’ Creed...

At this point, please go to the relevant text of Fr Hamon’s Meditation. Once I have read and meditated on the text, and its various points.

Ask the Prayers of the Blessed Virgin, your Guardian Angel, and your Patron Saint.

I complete my meditation by saying:

Holy Virgin, Mother of God, my Mother and Patroness, I place myself under thy protection, I throw myself with confidence into the arms of thy compassion. Be to me, O Mother of mercy, my refuge in distress, my consolation under suffering, my advocate with thy adorable Son, now and at the hour of my death.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom His love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side, To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

O great Saint whose name I bear, protect me, pray for me, that like thee I may serve God faithfully on earth, and glorify Him eternally with thee in heaven. Amen.

Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, hear us.

Jesus, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, ... Jesus, Son of the living God, ... Jesus, splendour of the Father, ... Jesus, brightness of eternal light, ... Jesus, king of glory, ... Jesus, sun of justice, ... Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary, ... Jesus, most amiable, ... Jesus, most admirable, ... Jesus, mighty God, ... Jesus, father of the world to come, ... Jesus, angel of great council, ... Jesus, most powerful, ... Jesus, most patient, ... Jesus, most obedient, ... Jesus, meek and humble of heart, ... Jesus, lover of chastity ... Jesus, lover of us, ... Jesus, God of peace, ... Jesus, author of life, ... Jesus, model of virtues, ... Jesus, zealous for souls, ... Jesus, our God, ... Jesus, our refuge, ... Jesus, father of the poor, ... Jesus, treasure of the faithful, ... Jesus, good shepherd, ... Jesus, true light, ... Jesus, eternal wisdom, ... Jesus, infinite goodness, ... Jesus, our way and our life, ... Jesus, joy of angels, ... Jesus, king of patriarchs, ... Jesus, master of apostles, ... Jesus, teacher of evangelists, ... Jesus, strength of martyrs, ... Jesus, light of confessors, ... Jesus, purity of virgins, ... Jesus, crown of all saints, ...

Be merciful, Spare us, O Jesus. Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus.

From all evil, Jesus, deliver us. From all sin, Jesus, deliver us. From Thy wrath, ... From the snares of the devil, ... From the spirit of fornication, ... From everlasting death, ... From the neglect of Thy inspirations, ... Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, ... Through Thy nativity, ... Through Thine infancy, ... Through Thy most divine life, ... Through Thy labours, ... Through Thine agony and passion, ... Through Thy cross and dereliction, ...Through Thy faintness and weariness, ... Through Thy death and burial, ... Through Thy resurrection, ... Through Thine ascension, ... Through Thy joys, ... Through Thy glory, ...

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us, O Jesus.

Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; grant, we beseech Thee, unto us who ask, the gift of Thy most divine love, that we may ever love Thee with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease from showing forth Thy praise. Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name; for Thou never failest to govern those whom Thou dost solidly establish in Thy love. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

The Angelus

℣ The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

℟ And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.

Hail, Mary...

℣ Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

℟ Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail, Mary...

℣ And the Word was made flesh.

℟ And dwelt among us.

Hail, Mary...

℣ Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

℟ That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord! Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Evening Prayer


Ash Wednesday: The Thought of Death

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will consider tomorrow that the ceremony of the ashes invites us to sanctify Lent: first, by penance and mortification; second, by the thought of death. We will then make the resolution: first, cheerfully to embrace all the mortifications suitable to this holy season, fasting and abstinence, with all the crosses sent by Providence which we may encounter; second, to excite ourselves to do all these things well by means of the saying of St Bernard: “If you were destined to die today would you do this or that?

Meditation for the Morning

Let us adore the Spirit of God inspiring the Church to institute the ceremony of the ashes in order to teach us what are the pious dispositions in which we ought to pass the holy season of Lent. Let us thank Him for this excellent institution, and let us beg Him to enable us to under stand it aright and to put it into practice.

The ceremony of the ashes preaches to his penance and mortification

From the most ancient times ashes placed upon the head have been an emblem of penance and sorrow. Job, when he repented that he had pleaded the cause of his innocence in too unmeasured language, cries out: ”Therefore I reprehend myself and do penance in dust and ashes” (Job xlii:6). As a penance for the sacrilegious theft committed by Achan at the taking of Jericho, Joshua and the ancients of Israel covered their heads with ashes (Jos. vii:6). Later on Judith, Esther, Mardochai, Judas Machabeus employed these means for turning away the anger of heaven; Jeremiah and all the prophets counselled this practice to the Jews who were stricken by God (Jer. xxv:34). Lastly, Our Lord Himself speaks of ashes as the symbol of penance, when He says of the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon that if they had seen the miracles which had been worked by Him in the midst of Judea, they would have done penance in sackcloth and ashes (Matt. xi:21). This it is which explains why the primitive Church distinguished by means of ashes penitents from the faithful; and on the first day of Lent she covered with ashes the heads of all her children without distinction, for this reason, says Tertullian, that every Christian is born to live in penance.

The ceremony of the ashes is therefore as a seal which binds us to penance, in such a manner that to receive ashes on our head without having contrition in our heart is to simulate a feeling which we do not possess: it is hypocrisy. Let us enter heartily into the spirit of penance from the first day of this holy season. The interest of our salvation requires it; Jesus Christ explicitly declares so by His words: “Except you do penance you shall all perish” (Luke xiii:5), and He teaches it still better by His example; the whole of His life was nothing more than a continual penance. All the saints, imitating Him, have performed penance, and what right have we to dispense ourselves from it? We have sinned many times, and all sin, even when remitted, demands penance. We have passions to conquer, temptations to combat, and penance is the surest preservative against both the one and the other. Let us here question our conscience: have we the spirit of penance suitable to the holy season of Lent?

The ceremony of the ashes recalls to us the thought of death

O man” the Church says to us today, “remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return”. The Christian, therefore, who comes to listen to these words at the foot of the altar presents himself there as a victim who, submissive to the sentence pronounced upon him, comes to offer himself to be, when it shall so please the Sovereign Arbitrator of life and death, reduced to ashes and sacrificed to His glory. By this act he seems to say to God: Lord, I come to accomplish in spirit that which Thou wilt soon finish in deed. Thou hast resolved, in punishment of my sin, to reduce me on some coming day into ashes. I come myself to make the essay today. I fore stall the decree of Thy justice, and I already execute it.

The Church in making us begin the holy season of Lent by this solemn acceptation of death, by the great sacrifice of all that we have and of all that we are, gives us to understand that she looks upon the thought of death as the most suitable one to make us pass through Lent in a holy manner, that is to say, in flying from sin and in the practice of penance and of all the virtues. Who indeed can think seriously of death and not keep himself always in a state of readiness to appear before God, and not watch over his words and actions, and not mortify himself in order to expiate his past faults and satisfy divine justice, and not multiply his good works and increase his merits (Gal. vi:10), and not detach himself from everything which will last for so short a time, and not repeat with St Bernard, If I were to die after this confession, how should I perform it; after this communion, how should I dispose myself for it; after this conversation, how should I speak; at the end of this week, of this month, how should I spend the time? Let us beg of God to enable us rightly to under stand this great lesson of death, and to make us deduce from it practical consequences suitable to the sanctification of Lent.

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


512 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page