A Momentary Pause before Ash Wednesday
"In the ritual of Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lenten journey, we receive a cross-shaped smudge on our forehead. The ashen sign reminds us of what we are fashioned from, and to what we will return. It initiates and impels us into the wilderness where we remember what is most essential to us. It is a dark, stark mark.
At the heart of this season, however, is a call to remember that something gleams among the ashes. We do not cling to the ashes for the sake of ashes, nor to the wilderness, nor to the outer form of whatever practice God gives us. Lent beckons us to cling to the one who dwells within and beneath and beyond every ritual and practice and form: Christ our Light, who desires us to receive his hospitality even—and perhaps especially—among ashes...
...What habits are you shaping your life around? Which of your habits are instinctual, and which are intentional? What do you feel drawn to practice in the coming season? As you engage in that practice, what will help you stay focused on the purpose of the practice, so that it will remain a doorway to God, rather than becoming a wall?