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Today, I didn’t have my napkin in my purse to write upon, when I was at the 8 am children’s Mass on Ash Wednesday at Christ the King Cathedral. So many blessings entered my soul from the readings, to the music, to the homily and the children filling most of the cathedral. “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul.”

And of course, I can’t remember most of what I wanted to. I need napkins more than ever these days to remember, oh my remember. I know the first message I soaked up like a sponge was “Return to me with all your heart.” It is such a blessing to be involved in anything in our life where we are in it whole-heartedly.  Another scripture at another time warns us to be a full Yes or a No — anything in between  is not “of the Spirit.”

I am so grateful to be living whole-hearted in each day, maybe with a few aches and pains, various trials here and there, some inconveniences, but in the over-all appraisal, I feel grateful and whole hearted for the life I have.

Today, I share my SoulCollage image I made for Lent maybe over five years ago. I add to it the magnificent blog post of Jan Richardson, and thus I am complete. It is all here.

 

Readings for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17;
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

From Jan Richardson:

We are entering the season that begins with a smudge. That smudge is a testimony to what survives. It is a witness to what abides when everything seems lost. It is a sign that what we know and love may, for a time, be reduced to dust, but it does not disappear. We belong to the God who well knows what to do with dust, who sees the dust as a place to dream anew, who creates from it again and again.
—Jan Richardson, from Ash Wednesday: What God Can Do with Dust
The Painted Prayerbook, February 2018

Friends, as we enter into Lent, I want to share this Ash Wednesday blessing again. It’s been six years since I first wrote it, during what would turn out to be my last Lent with Gary. I have found that the question the blessing holds—”Did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?”—is a good one to ask myself anew each time Ash Wednesday comes around. And I can say now: I know what God can do with dust. And I am learning still.

As this season begins, what blessing do you need to claim from the ashes?

Blessing the Dust
For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.
—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

NAPKINWRITER so highly recommended this beautiful, inspiring book. Buy it now!

 

Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.”

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