‘The Christians go mad but thanks to ashes that the Church puts on their heads they come to their senses and are cured of their madness,’ commented the Turkish ambassador to Rome in the 1690s.
Carnival ended last night and today, Ash Wednesday, we can receive ashes in church at the start of the Forty Days of Lent.
It marks our commitment to keeping Lent.
John Paul II said that going without things in Lent does not only consist of giving away what we do not need.
‘Going without things is to free oneself from the slavery of a civilisation that is always urging people on to greater comfort and consumption, without a thought for the preservation of our environment which is the common heritage of humanity.’