Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the liturgical season called Lent.
If you have friends who are Roman Catholics, they will likely attend a Mass today and have ashes smeared onto their foreheads in the shape of a cross. This is done as a reminder of death and mortality-- ashes to ashes, dust to dust, as we say at funerals. When people leave the Mass and walk around in public with ashen crosses upon them, they are reminders that we are all, apart from Christ, literally walking dead people.
(Incidentally, these ashes traditionally come from burnt palm fronds from last year’s Palm Sunday.)
Today is a good day to fast (if you haven’t already eaten breakfast!), in response to, and in penitence for, the sin that brought death and fallenness into the world, which you share in the culpability for. Even if you simply miss a single meal, I’d recommend it.
I blogged about Lent a bit last year, and it’s worth a re-consideration. I’ll probably have a bit more to say about it later in the season. Meanwhile, have a good Ash Wednesday, everyone.