Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Ode to Ashes

An Ode to Ashes

Lent has never been my favorite “sacred” season—as a child, an adolescent, a middle-ager or now, as a senior citizen. I have come to terms with it, of course, and I know I should welcome this time as an opportunity to be ever more open to where the Spirit blows, though it is still a struggle. However, as I reflect on the recently-passed Ash Wednesday I do have an upward lilt of the heart.

Each Ash Wednesday other Sisters and I marvel at the outpouring of students who come to chapel in the late afternoon to participate in the Mass and—probably most important to them, the imposition of ashes on their foreheads. We sometimes chuckle as we note “They’re coming out of the woodwork.” People we don’t see in chapel any other time will come to the Ash Wednesday services [reported by many a parish minister, too!]. And that’s a good thing, I believe. Something about this age-old ritual still speaks to them and, at least for this particular time, they are in tune with the Church and with the age-old mystery of God reaching out to us with love and mercy-- and we being willing to acknowledge our sins and need of this love and mercy. I got a warm glow as I received my ashes and watched the “hordes” of others receiving theirs. And somehow I am deeply comforted and at peace.

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