|From the Ash Wednesday Page at Fisheaters.com|
Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris
We are going to die. That's the message today. We live in a fake world, an age dominated by lies we happily believe, despite our boasting of superior knowledge. We want comfort and happiness. And we resent the crap out of the fact that we must work to have either. We don't want inconvenienced. I've often felt that much of the anti-war sentiment of the 60s was based more on cowardice and selfishness than many will ever admit. Today, I think it's based on laziness and a general resentment of things like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina interfering with the cocktail hour.
And that resentment of things that continually interfere with our happy little lives extends to death. Sometimes it's almost as if we resent even death, not for any eternal judgement or separation, but simply because it smacks against this idea we've so desperately tried to build, that life is all about giving me everything I want, with whoever I want, for whatever reason I want, as soon as I want, and without any obligations on my part.
And yet death does come. It will. It's the great equalizer. A hundred years from now, most who can read this will be dead. We'll be gone. And the greater portion of those alive today will have been long forgotten. A mere stone, chipped and faded, in the back corner of a forgotten cemetery giving any testimony at all to this world that we ever existed. That's it.
Of course, in the world of faith, we have that next phase of our existence toward which to look. We have something beyond, a new heaven and a new earth. An existence unlike what we could ever know today, not if scientists could break every code and solve every physical mystery in the universe. And that is why we Catholics, and other Christians who celebrate Ash Wednesday, can go to a service centered around telling us to "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return." And not only do we go, but we leave with hope as opposed to despair. A peace rather than a frantic grasp at fleeting fulfillment. A joy based on Faith in God rather than frustrated attempts at using fun and games to ignore the inevitable. So happy Ash Wednesday! If your faith lies not in IPads and post card vacations, but in an eternal existence with an eternal God, then it's a wonderful day to jar ourselves and remember where our peace and joy originate, and why in such a mixed up, crazy world we can be anxious for nothing.