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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust


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Dear Friends,

Ash Wednesday is upon us.

And you may ask ~ 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 penitent’s forehead he says one of two poignant phrases:

REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE DUST AND UNTO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN,

Are we to reflect and ask

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 ~ to make a U-turn ~ when we realize our life has gone in the wrong direction.

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

Turn around and head in a different direction.

Get going again.

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, 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.  Make the sign Mean Something!

Let it transform you from inside out.

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

So, let’s do Lent well — together.

During Lent, 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.

God of  pardon and of love,

Mercy past all measure,

You alone can grant us peace,

You, our holy treasure. 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer  

Tomorrow ~ The Jesus I know and Love



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