Ash Wednesday

Mosaic from Pompeii
30 B.C. — 14 A.D.
National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

I have a deep appreciation for the significance of Ash Wednesday. As the celebrant marks my forehead with the sign of the cross, he intones, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” reminding me of my mortality. These are the same words said by God to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:19 as part of their punishment for disobeying Him. Our disobedience blocks us from the eternal life that God intends for us. What God desires from us is repentance and transformation to heal our relationship with Him. Ash Wednesday dates from at least the eighth century and is the beginning of Lent, a time of fasting, prayer, and good works that are meant to prepare us for the glory of the Easter resurrection. Continue reading