What's Ash Wednesday about?

March 1st is Ash Wednesday. At our services, one of the pastors will read the text I've copied below from the Book of Common Prayer.  How is the Lord calling you to prepare for the observance of Jesus' passion and resurrection? A fast? A discipline of devotion?  

"Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism [LCC will have a baptism class on March 26]. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church.  Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. 

"I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word."