Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Today a priest will put ashes in the form of a cross on my forehead. I will wear these ashes all day long. Is this the spiritual pridefulness the Lord warns his disciples about? No, it is not. This is not a deed of righteousness, but a reminder of separation and spiritual sickness, of sin. I wear the ashes as a reminder of my mere mortality and my certain death. I am but blessed dust. I wear the cross, not in pride but because it is my only hope. The cross is the paradoxical promise that death means life, not because of my righteousness but because of Jesus love.
This day begins a season of prayer and fasting. It is a season of reflecting and doing in order to recognize the traps of acedia and the deceptions of my own sinful nature. This is not intended to be a time of beating down (I can self-debase with the best of them). This is a time of purgation. It is a time of looking in the mirror of self and then seeking a peak of what we shall be if we love the Lord who will put us up out of the ashes and bring us to the glory that is eternity.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen