Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. Lent – the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) before Easter Sunday – started yesterday. On an Ash Wednesday, Christians – particularly the Catholics – attend a special Mass. The highlight of this Mass is that the Priest applies ashes (with a sign of cross) on the Faithful's foreheads, saying, "Remember, you have come from dust, and to dust you shall return".
What a powerful reminder that is! “My child, no matter who you are, you have to leave everything and go back to where you have come from – the dust!”
Maybe, that’s what they mean by being grounded in life!
So, Lent, if we take it in its true spiritual sense, can be a life-transforming experience… Fasting, praying, repentance… all these, if observed in true sense, can be great spiritual exercises. But, if we observe them just as a religious custom, they serve no purpose except for a sense of pride in our social circle… “Hello there… It is Ash Wednesday today… I am praying and fasting.”
God will never ask whether or not I have attended a Mass on the Ash Wednesday… whether or not the Priest has applied ashes on my forehead… and whether I have fasted or not.
Has Ash Wednesday truly brought in me the humility and a striking awareness of my mortality? Do I still hold grudges against my fellow-beings? Am I still obsessed with wealth and fame?
It is believed, that the ‘Third Eye’, where the sign of the cross is made with ashes, is the gateway to the inner realms… "Remember, you have come from dust, and to dust you shall return".
Pic.: Chetna Shetty