Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. The imposition of ashes reminds us that our life on earth is temporary and that our definitive life is in Heaven. It is a time of prayer, penance and fasting. Forty days that the Church marks for the conversion of the heart.
The ashes that are used are obtained by burning the palms used on Palm Sunday of the previous year. This reminds us that what was once a sign of glory is soon reduced to nothing. The words used for the imposition of ashes can be: "Remember that dust you are and to dust you will return" or "Repent and believe in the Gospel".
When we receive the ashes, we must have an attitude of wanting to improve, of wanting to be friends with God. At the end of our lives, we will only take with us what we have done for God and for our most needy brothers and sisters.