Mortal Flesh and Ash


Ash Wednesday. There is no other day like Ash Wednesday. The proud and the meek, the arrogant and the humble all made equal on Ash Wednesday. The healthy and the sick, the assured and the sick in spirit, all make their way to church in the gray morning or in the dusty afternoon. They line up silently, eyes downcast, bony fingers counting the beads of the rosary, lips mumbling prayers. All are repentant, all are preparing themselves for the shock of the laying of the ashes on the forehead and the priest’s agonizing words, “Thou dust, and to dust thou shalt return .”

Rudolfo A. Anaya

Luxury of Lent: 2013

I had every intention of writing some insightful words on this Ash Wednesday eve, as the Christian season of Lent begins, for anyone who might care to read.  But I’ve found that, being years removed from leading a faith community as my primary vocation, practicing my own faith has become a luxury.  I suppose it was a bit easier when it was my “job.”  Finding time for what is important to me has simply become ever so challenging.   I know I’m not alone.

The way we construct our schedules leaves little room for that which repairs and nourishes our souls.  When this becomes the norm that, to me, is a sign that something is terribly wrong.  Our bodies were not made for the life depleting expectations of the secular world. One purpose of Ash Wednesday, at least for the Christian, is to be reminded that we are limited, finite, and mortal.  We could all, Christian, spiritual, or otherwise, bear to be reminded of that great truth.

Even if Lent isn’t your “thing”, but you’re feeling dislodged from your center, it might be a good time to embark on a journey that, in the very least, involves an exercise in self care . . . and care for those around you.  We were meant to make this journey together. Peace.