Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that prepares us to celebrate the Resurrection. Those attending mass on this day will have their foreheads marked with ashes as a sign of repentance. Some might question us when they see the cross on our foreheads, “Did you remember to wash up this morning when you got up.”
Ash Wednesday is a day to remember that we are God’s creation, made from the dust of the Earth. In our congregational mission statement, we have promised that we will be stewards of God’s creation in a real, tangible way-not only to each other but to those we encounter in our daily lives. The season of Lent challenges each one of us, Sisters, and Associates to see the beauty and awesomeness of God’s creation and to remember that we are God’s Beloved. We might hear one of these statements as the ashes are rubbed on our heads:
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.
Repent and believe the Good news.
Whatever words are spoken, we receive the ashes on our heads with a sense of sorrow for our shortcomings, but also with a sense of hope. With God’s grace we can repent and continue on our road of life together.
– James Russell, Associate
James (Jim) is an active Associate, high school history teacher, parish youth minister, and full-time husband and father. Jim serves in many civic groups and is a member of the Rockland County AOH.