Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever. ~Brennan Manning
“Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” That phrase, often used with the imposition of ashes on this day, is a very somber reminder of the quote above: “suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey”. Who wants to hear that?
We may not want to hear that or be reminded of our mortality; however, it is essential to bring it front and center because it puts our entire lives in perspective. In the sight of God, we are only here for a moment and then we are gone. If we have a brief amount of time here on earth, it is incumbent upon us to use that time as wisely as possible.
That is why we begin Lent with the sign of ashes. We do so not to be morbid or to frighten anyone. We do so to remind people of the sense of urgency that should be ours. Each day must be lived for the Lord if we want to be with the Lord in eternity.
If we live for the Lord, we are going to have to get rid of some of the things that hinder us from Him. We have to cut out the sinfulness that is a part of our lives. Pride, arrogance, envy, sloth, avarice, licentiousness: none of these should have a place in our lives. Because of our frail, mortal nature, though, they often do. They might have a tiny place in our lives or they may have a stranglehold upon us.
This is the day we say goodbye to them.
Our journey must begin by making a firm commitment to divest ourselves of the things that hinder us from God. Some of those things — that we call sin — have become old and dear friends. We might feel anguish at having to give them up.
We cannot allow our emotions to rule us in this journey. We might suffer and fail in our attempt to give up sin. We might become discouraged and be brought low in our struggle. Christ, however, is the victor. He has already won the fight over sin and death and He is more than willing to champion our cause.
All we need to do is take that first step.
FAITH ACTION: Write down all that causes you to suffer, to fail, to feel lonely, or to be discouraged. Then, take it outside and burn it. Give it all over to the Lord who lifts us up from all that keeps us down.
Remember, Ash Wednesday is a Day of Fast and Abstinence