Ashes - a reminder of our mortal bodies
We have just celebrated Ash Wednesday with fast, abstinence, prayer and imposition of ashes on our foreheads.
When I was a boy, I still remember the words the priest uttered when imposing the ashes on my forehead – “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return”. These words of my priest, though very meaningful did not touch me then at that tender age.
Death was the last thing in my mind then when we, as children and youngsters, were enjoying life to the fullest. Today we realize death is real and imminent. We have already witnessed the death of many of our friends and relatives, some of whom were very dear to us.
The imposition of ashes reminds us, despite our social status, that we are all mere mortals and our physical bodies would perish one day. Today we may be alive with great power, wealth, beauty and strength but tomorrow our bodies may be reduced to dust. Reflecting on those words of the priest makes me realize that greed for material comforts is indeed foolish. In fact it is more important to cultivate the love of Christ that is within each and every one of us, which will bring everlasting rewards from God.
Today we leave our jobs to fast, abstain and receive the ashes without fail, but has the significance of the act really touched us in the way it should? Many of us don’t even know what the priest is saying or doing. We receive the ashes because it is a trend which we have to follow.
This is the reality of the fast moving world today, to follow the trend without knowing the meaning of our actions. If we don’t we’ll be left behind.
This is the real fear that is gripping society today, if we don’t join in the race that is determined by greed, selfishness, hate and lust, we too will be left behind. As Christians can we say “NO” to this trend and follow that set by Christ?