Another re-post, and a week late reflection on Ash Wednesday. It’s the best I can do, I swear I’ll get my head together at some point this month but that point is not today.
“From dust you came and to dust you shall return.” The priest looked at me gravely and smudged my head with ashes. It was reminiscent of my own funeral, as it is intended to be. The meditation for Ash Wednesday is that I will die and so will everyone I love, we will be turned back into the earth that we were made from.
“From dust you came and to dust you shall return. ”
Honestly I had a miserable day. It was one of those days where I was always in a hurry, constantly playing catch up. I burned the rice and spilled the beans. There was dog pee on the floor and toddler pee on the bed. My daughter caught cold and every time her nose began to drip she would shriek “Wipe my nose! Wipe my nose!” on another day it would have been endearing but today my heart was stone.
While I sat through the service tonight hearing the chorus over and over “from dust you came and from dust you shall return,” I longed to feel repentant. Even as we read the confessions “Lord forgive me for what I have done and what I have left undone, I have not loved you with my whole heart, I have not loved my neighbor as myself.” I mumbled along with empty words. I was grumpy and self-absorbed.
And that is just it. That is who I am. Sure I have good days too, but today I was cold-hearted and selfish and I couldn’t even bring myself to feel bad about it.
The Jesus Prayer that Bloom mentions is one that I learned as as child. When I feel like I did today I cling to it. “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
Bloom goes on to say, “You can express to God your sorrow, your misery, your disgust with yourself, and you come back with the determined will to tell God what is true and that your will is united with His will. “
And that is what I did. I prayed for mercy and I thanked God that He asks me to be more than I am and that He is at work in me to do it.
I’m still selfish but every time I remember to cling to Jesus a tiny battle has been won. It is one more step towards God and away from a bitter heart. Honestly, I’m not over it. But I will go to bed with these two lines going through my head.
“From dust you came and to dust you shall return.”
“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
Hoping that tomorrow I will be more than I was today.
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