Ash Wednesday is full of joy…The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.Thomas Merton
Ash Wednesday is a day to remember that we are God’s creation, made from the dust of the Earth. But it is also good to remember that we are God’s Beloved. We might hear one of these admonitions as the ashes are rubbed on our heads in the form of a cross:
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.
Repent and believe the Good news.
So on Ash Wednesday, we receive the ashes on our heads with a sense of sorrow for our shortcomings, but also with a sense of hope. With God’s grace we can repent.