“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This Ash Wednesday wake up call is quite a “zinger” to all of us. There was a time when none of us existed. And remember that one day, again, you will not exist on this earth. There is a quote from St. Teresa of Avila much like this Ash Wednesday blessing, which sends a very similar message:
“Remember that you have but one soul and have but once to die; just one short life, which is yours, and yours only, and that there is but one Glory, which is eternal.”
Teresa’s quote could be the follow up statement to the Ash Wednesday reminder. Because we are going to be dust, let us make the most of our lives- the real most, the true most. Our bodies, and all of our worldly goods, will pass away and become dust. So don’t be fooled.
Often, we can tend to cast Ash Wednesday in a rather dismal light. After all, being reminded that we’re all going to die and that everything on earth is going to pass away in the end isn’t exactly light conversation. Ash Wednesday shouldn’t be a day that causes us to feel gloomy, however. It comes around each year to remind us of what life is really about. Life is a priceless gift. one not to be wasted. During Lent let us all take the time to step back for a few moments to remember our goal and then each day will bring us closer to God.
There will be a “new Heaven and a new earth,” our bodies will be resurrected, goodness will prevail and evil will be vanquished. So let us all remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall all return. But also remember the shape of the ashes on our heads; the cross, through which that same dust is transformed into a sign of hope.