There are a number of days in the church year that I find particularly meaningful and to which I look forward. Today is one of them. I have children to thank for that. The first time that I marked the sign of the cross with ashes on the forehead of a child and recited the words, "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" was a profound and moving moment. Thoughts of mortality and the fragility of life were the first to emerge, but they yielded in short order to deeper levels of connection to the earth, creation, and the divine.
Today, for me, is about grounding. It is a reminder of the opportunity to be grounded in God, to draw strength from the holy source of life and commit myself to honoring my "roots" by living the best life that I can. It is a reminder, as well, that no matter how hard I try to do my best, respect others and honor all that comes from the hand of God, I fail. It is a reminder that even when I fail, I am loved and embraced by the fullness of what is holy and gracious.
Words in today's liturgy invite us to the observance of a holy Lent. I love that the Church offers an invitation to the experience of holiness intended to draw us deeply into the mystery that is about the renewal of humanity through forgiveness. I love that the community is encouraged to journey together into the darkness of who we are so that we can rejoice together in the light of what we receive from the heart of love. I love that all of that is woven together so beautifully on this day of being marked with the ashes of death as a reminder of the life we are given.
I love this day. It is my prayer that you find blessing in it. May you experience a holy Lent.