Marking Ash Wednesday
Here at Siena we marked the beginning of Lent with Liturgies of the Word and distribution of ashes in College House Groups – these were lead by students and focused on the 2020 Project Compassion theme: Go Further Together.
From dust to life
It is a centuries old tradition for the Pope to celebrate the Eucharist on Ash Wednesday at Santa Sabina in Rome – the headquarters of the Dominican Family. In his homily this year, Pope Francis reflected:
“We are dust in the universe…yet we are dust loved by God” and added that we are precious dust that is destined for eternal life.
“We are the dust of the earth, upon which God has poured out his heaven, the dust that contains his dreams,” he said. “We are God’s hope, his treasure and his glory.”
Pope Francis went on to describe ashes as a reminder of the direction of our existence: “a passage from dust to life.” But if we allow ourselves “to be shaped by the hands of God, we become something wonderous.”
He noted that the ashes on our foreheads should influence the thoughts passing through our minds. “What am I living for?” is the question we should ask ourselves.
If we live for fleeting, worldly realities, then we spend our lives chasing after dust, moving backwards from life to ashes. But, he said, if we live to love and make God’s dream a reality, then we allow the fire of love to be kindled in our hearts.
“Our earthly possessions will prove useless, dust that scatters, but the love we share – in our families, at work, in the Church and in the world – will save us, for it will endure forever.”