After Morning Prayer, Office of Readings, Mass, and hanging up some laundry on the roof to dry, I make it to the office and add an #ashtag column to my Tweetdeck, just for the day, so I can pray for everyone who uses it and share in the hope and promise of Ash Wednesday.
And as I start to see the faces with their ashes, it makes me think of the cross that Deacon Ron traced on my own forehead on the day of my baptism, and how necrotic I have let it become, Lord.
How little have I reached up to Heaven, entrusting myself to the prayers, protection, and example of Our Lady and the saints, knowing and taking courage from my membership in a sacred communion that overcomes the limits of time and space.
How little have I taken and still less have I sought the opportunities to be your own compassion to those who suffer because of my sins and the sins of the world, knowing that in charity and forgetfulness of self lies the freedom from the tyranny of this self that doesn't realize he was drowned in the Jordan.
How much of what I have called discipleship or a spiritual life has really been the work of a fleshly religion, an effort to make myself just and acceptable before God, as if our Father in Heaven were an earthly parent who love was conditional, as if I had not been baptized into your sacred humanity, Lord Jesus, a humanity with which the Father is "well pleased," (Mark 1:11), as if your Passion, death, and Resurrection had not delivered us from such a religion, from self-justification by works of the law, from wearing our human righteousness like a badge that marks as just and saved.
How little have I truly turned my life over to you Lord, preferring instead of rotten luxury of my own will. As long as my poverty is mine, I have not become poor, I have not followed in your footprint.
And yet you, Lord, have continued to hold me in your mercy, have continued to invite me to the salvation you are always working for me. Grant me the willingness to turn myself over to you, to find myself only in your love and your will. Grant me the surrender to sink into the grace of my baptism.