Peter LaVigne got a perfect score on the GRE.
Jameson Hill broke a record held by an Olympic Medalist.
Mr. Westhoff had 122 “reads” out of a global population of about 7 billion, meaning that one out of every 60 million people, or so, that you meet today will have read his last posting.
Remember, man, thou art dust, and to dust thou shall return.
The sobering words of Ash Wednesday, the ashen cross on the forehead, the call to mortification and penance of Lent are in stark contrast to what we might rather think about or fashion ourselves to be.
It is profound that the Church uses the burnt branches from Palm Sunday to remind us. On Sunday hosannas rang out from young and old on the road into Jerusalem; by Friday hammer blows on nails that punctured His hands rang out from the hill of Calvary. On Sunday shouts for Jesus to be King came from the crowds lining the roadside; by Friday shouts of derision that He had saved others, let Him save Himself came from passersby and onlookers. On Sunday cloaks were laid in Our Lord’s path to ride over; by Friday lots were cast for His tunic.
Sicut transit gloria mundi.
The glory of Palm Sunday is reduced to ashes, and placed on the foreheads of Pope and cleric; king and peasant; scholar and illiterate; athlete and atrophic; world renowned and little known. And all hear, “Remember man….” A generic phrase that goes to the heart of each of us because we know that within our hearts there is a pride, a greed, a lust, a deadly stain of some sort that we have fashioned as we think ourselves greater than dust. Our envies, angers, gluttonies and slothful habits have coursed their way through our veins with the power to make our hearts dry as dust.
But we must also remember that it is a cross of ashes that is placed on our brow. The Word became flesh – became a man like us in all things but sin. So we can say that the Word became dust, taking on the form of a slave. He has shown us what this dust that we are is capable of, if we but renounce ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.
Our prayers behind closed doors that only the Father hears; the fasting done with our faces washed; our alms that we give and never think twice about, all of these are greater than headline acts. We are reminded that within our dusty selves there is a greatness that will be called forth from our tombs on the Last Day.
He Who would have been made King on Palm Sunday for having raised Lazarus from the dead, holds each of us in His pierced palm on Good Friday where Pilate’s placard proclaims Him King.
Ash Wednesday reminds us of who we are and who we can be, and imprints on our foreheads and in our hearts how to reach greatness.
Jezu, ufam Tobie.