Ash Wednesday: You are dust and to dust you shall return.
It's a humbling thought that we all, one day, will turn back into that from which Christ made us. Yesterday, while at work at my parish, there was an unusual smell wafting in the air. It was a strong smell that made me think, at first, that someone was cooking something exotic in the parish kitchen. As I made my way outside to my car, the smell got stronger and as I looked up into the sky trying to figure out what the smell was, I saw it! Stupid me! It was the burning of last year's palms being done right outside the office windows! Traditionally, Catholics take last year's palms from Palm Sunday..burn them... and use them as the ashes for Ash Wednesday Masses. It is a comforting thought for me to know that the palms given/held/stored/prayed over by our many parishioners were being used in such a profound way? Their palms are on my forehead right now! Can you imagine the amount of LIFE that those palms have witnessed in the last year? From the first day where they were fresh and green, placed in a bible in someone's home? Or tucked behind a crucifix in a bedroom? Maybe they were folded into a cross shape and stored in the car visor? Or placed in someone's china cabinet?
We have our old palms prominently displayed behind a cross in our eating area. I forgot to take these old palms to the church for burning, but maybe we'll just burn our own as a family tonight. It can be a symbol of our familial beginning of Lent. ......Reminding us to "Come to the Lord with all our hearts and leave the past in ashes".
I love being Catholic.