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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust


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Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

But what’s this Ashes thing”

We Catholics like symbols.  (So does Harry Potter.)

What do ashes mean?

What can they tell us about life? And death?  And reality?

When the priest smears ashes on the forehead he says one of two poignant phrases:


So are we just dust?  Have we made an ash-heap of our life?

Are we sitting in an ash-heap?

Is there nothing but ruin, smoldering embers around us?

If so, do we despair?

Or can we dream of re-building?

Lent is a time of hope when our life goes awry.

It’s a time to TURN AROUND when we realize we’ve reached a dead end.

That’s what the word conversion means.  To simply do a U-turn.

Turn around and head in a different direction.

Get going again.   But CHANGE, so you don’t

keep on doing the same old thing and expecting different results.

I have a bone to pick with Catholics who show up on Ash Wednesday at get a smudge of ashes on their forehead without the slightest intention of doing what they symbolize:  CHANGE.

I invite you to go deeper into the practice of your religion.  LIVE IT!

Let transform you from inside out.

Our economy is sitting in ashes right now.

Consumerism and greed have caused this.

And we’re all consuming much to much and many of us are greedy.

We’re all experiencing the effects of this. We’re afraid and worried.

The question is:  Do we have the COURAGE TO CHANGE?

So, let’s do Lent well — together.

Tomorrow be ready to walk with him to Jerusalem

and find out who this Jesus is for you.

And what wisdom he has to offer us that will help us to change.

Whether you are  Catholic or not, perhaps you will find some wisdom,

some meaning for your life here.  Join us as we walk the journey together

as Jesus did — through suffering to death to new and risen life.

Lord Jesus, help us to make this Lent a time to know you

and ourselves a little more deeply.

With love,

Bob Traupman

Contemplative writer

One comment on “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

  1. Dear Fr. Bob, An excellent article…esp. Lent being a time of Hope and a time to make a change.

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