“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those or similar words to that effect will be said countless times as ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful on this Ash Wednesday, just like they have been said for years and years.
The words and the ashes are supposed to serve as a reminder of our mortality. The ashes also serve as a stark symbol that we all have our flaws and things that we need to work on – with Lent being the perfect time to work on them as we try to prepare our souls for Easter. Seeing ashes on people as they go about their daily business – picking up groceries, walking on the street, driving in their cars – is both a jarring and an inspiring moment. It’s inspiring because it is a visible sign of love for the Catholic faith that people aren’t afraid to show. Yet, at the same time, seeing those dark spots can be a bit frightening. But I think they are supposed to be.
The outward symbol of the ashes today reminds me to look inward to see what dark spots in my own life I need to work on this Lenten season. Instead of giving something up, what I would I would like to try this Lent is to each day think of one thing that I am grateful for – and thank people in my life for the things they do.
If you’d like to share what you are giving up or working on during Lent, I’d love to hear!