After having a way awesome Fat Tuesday, which included going to an all you can eat Mongolian BBQ restaurant (It was SO good!!!) with my friends Vince and Theresa, where we discussed G.K. Chesterton’s work Orthodoxy, as well as bouncing around various spiritual/religious/life topics. After dropping them off, I went out and picked up my buddy Matt and headed to our mutual friends Mark and Vanessa, where they made this massive spaghetti, salad and garlic bread feast (It was SO good!!!).
Following dinner, we watched the new Agents of Shield tv show, which had me both gripping the seat and yelling out loud at what was transpiring on the screen, the show rocked!!! Oh, lest I forget to mention, Mark showed us the Marvel short film Hail To The King, which was included upon the Thor Dark World Blu Ray. Without giving away any “spoilers” it was way fun and left me wanting MORE! And it even had this one actor who I will not mention even though I really really want to, because he was WAY awesome and I pulled a Sam Kinison when I saw him on screen…here is a hint: He was in Iron Man 2!!!!
It goes without saying that my Fat Tuesday was totally epic!!!!!!
Now though, it is time to get serious, for Lent is upon us.
Lent for those who may not be aware starts on what is known on Ash Wednesday, where we Catholics receive upon our foreheads ashes with the words spoken by the priest, “Memento, homo, quiz pulvis es, et in pulverem reversers.” That translates to :
“Remember, Man, that you are dust, and into dust you will return.”
It is a reminder for us that life will one day end for us, that we are to go before God and give an account of our life and how we have lived out this gift of His.
Thus, over a period of 40 days, it is a time to deeply reflect upon the essence of life, God’s goodness, justice and mercy, which is ultimately summarized through the Passion and Death of Christ upon the Cross as an offering to the Father Himself as the means of salvation due to the wages of our sin and disobedience. The fall of Adam and Eve within the Garden of Eden was one whereby they disobeyed God and ate the fruit which was forbidden to them, after which Adam had the gall to blame everyone other than himself, even God for his own failure and falling into sin!
I often wonder if Adam and Eve had just told the truth and come forward and told God what they had done right off the bat and that they were sorry, if God would have forgiven them right then and there and would have given them a lesser punishment.
Yet, the hard reality that we find ourselves in is that unfortunately sin and evil are very much something which we have to face and deal with within our lives, notwithstanding that we are also going to die at some point in the future.
God within the Garden said to Adam after eating the forbidden fruit, “In the sweat of they face thou eat bread till thou return to earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” (Genesis 3:19)
There are other references to dust and ash throughout the Old Testament. The king who converted back to following God after hearing the preaching of Jonah wore sackcloth and sat in ashes as a sign of his repentance. When Abraham is talking with God, he says Him that “I am dust and ashes.” (Genesis 18:27)
The ashes upon our forehead are a means by which to remind us of hard truths, ones that is inescapable. We have and do sin, we will die.
They act as a symbol, as well as a reminder. There is a reason why they are placed upon our forehead. We are reminded to think!
In thinking we can reflect. Through reflection we can alter how we act. By changing how we act, we can adjust how we live our life.
During Lent, we can ponder Gods love for us, His sacrifice for us upon the Cross and how truly horrendous and detestable sins are to God. Christ took upon Himself the wages of our sins, which was the culmination of His passion and death in order to free us from death and eternal perdition. Christs whole mission is to restore us in relationship to the Father, so that we can have that intimate bond with which was lost back within the Garden of Eden. There can be no Easter without there being a Good Friday. There can be no Easter joy without there being a Good Friday Passion.
Lent is a time spent in mediation upon these sacred mysteries of the Passion, Death and ultimately the Resurrection of Christ. It is the greatest mystery of all mysteries.
I just learned that the word for humble comes from Humus…meaning lowly and upon the ground…upon the Earth…alluding and referring to dust! Humility is the polar opposite of pride, which is the very essence of rebellion and of being of hard heartedness. Sin comes forth from pride, whereas humility allows for us to acknowledge our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy, so that our connection and innate relationship with Him (and others) may be healed and brought whole once more.
Upon my Saintland web page, I posted a sermon on The Holy Season of Lent. It is well worth the read.
As for myself, I shall do my very best to be faithful to my particular Lenten “goals”.
It goes without saying that the Season of Lent is quite the challenge! Please pray for me that I will be constant this Lent and I will keep you within my prayers as well.
May the peace of God and His mercy shine forth to you during this Holy Season of Lent.